Building a Generation of Youth Ambassadors to Help End Violence in Samoa

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The fight to end violence against children in Samoa had taken a leap of faith, as a group of young women and men continued to gather as a peer support group to develop themselves as Child
Protection Champions and Ambassadors.

The peer support group is made up of 40 adolescents from the 7 communities of Samalaeulu in Savaii, Fasitoo-uta, Toamua,
Siumu, Fagalii, Luatuanuu and Solosolo in Upolu; where SVSG is piloting its primary prevention program to end violence against children.

Despite their different personalities, level of
education and family dynamics, SVSG says the peer support group provides adolescents with a safe space and learning environment without fear of judgment, misunderstanding, harassment or abuse.

“Most importantly, the peer support group had created a sense of belonging amongst the
participants..

“Most of these troubled teens are survivors violence – from school drop outs, some who had thoughts of self-inflicting harm, and some with disabilities as well as those with a different gender preference; this allows them to find their voice”.

SVSG says members of the peer support group are the future; children destined to become the next generation of Child Protection Champions and
Ambassadors.

“We have witnessed how members of the peer group have built supportive relationships with each other. Sharing on their personal journeys was done so without fear of being discriminated or ridiculed”.

An 18 year old shared on how he struggled to front up a brave face when he dropped out of school, while buried within was a feeling of shame and sadness. He also never looked beyond his feelings and considered how his drop-out had affected his parents. He said he has learnt from the ongoing trainings by SVSG about the importance of identifying and managing your own emotions, while being in tune to the emotions of others closest to you.

Georgina Lui, the Chair of the SVSG Board said the young man is now ready to return to complete his education and his parents are supporting him all the way.

“This change in attitude and behavior highlights the effectiveness of the peer group approach in supporting young people to improve self-esteem and confidence..

“It is SVSG’s way of building a generation of Youth Ambassadors to end violence in Samoa”, states the SVSG Board Chair.

Ms Lui acknowledged the important partnership SVSG has established with UNICEF Pacific over the years, in providing sustainability of community prevention programs to end violence against children in Samoa.