Despite the bad weather last Friday, the European Union delegation pushed through with their site visit at the Nofotane market at Toamua.
The market is established under the initiative of the SVSG in partnership with the European Union through the CSSP (Community Sector Support Programme).
The purpose of the visit was to monitor the sustainability of the self-employed Nofotane women who were supported by the 2-year funding program by the European Union from 2020 to 2022.
The Nofotane women of Toamua represented over 2,000 women involved in the program.
The initiative aims to empower mothers to be creative with their products, and help boost income generation so they can ultimately be self-reliant.
In an interview with the visiting team, the EU program manager in Samoa, Shaleshni Prasad said she was very proud of the Nofotane women and their contributions toward the life of the society.
“I’m very happy about my visit today. The rain didn’t stop us from meeting these beautiful ladies and their work. Hats off to them. This program is close to my heart as I’m passionate about women empowerment particularly when it comes to recognizing their own rights and abilities. It’s a good platform for the vulnerable women in Samoa societies to stand up to match their calibre equalities”-Shaleshni Prasad.
She stated also that she was impressed by the talent coming through these mothers such as weaving, sewing and other things that promote income generation activities. Shaleshni told SVSG media that she has seen a shift from being an abused woman facing financial stress to being a fully economically empowered mother.
According to one of the Nofotane from Toamua, Inailau Vaine Palaamo Elisara, she said that the women of Toamua are appreciative of this initiative.
“Toamua Nofotane women value this program since the beginning. Now they are enjoying doing vegetable gardens and making handicrafts. The good thing about this program is that it brings both the Nofotane with her husband together to work together in developing the family. For that reason, I’m so happy that there is a lot of improvements in the families of our village as a result of the Nofotane women’s participation in the project”- Inaillau Vaine Palaamo Elisara.
According to the SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, “The project was implemented in two years and it completed in 2022 with the official launching of the Nofotane online market. It has supported Nofotane women with skills to foster creativity and innovations in order to gain better access to markets. It has also enabled the self-employed Nofotane women to grow their sales and generate a sustainable income to support their families with their small-scale businesses.”
Ale Vena Ale, the member of Parliament for Faleata No.4 and a matai of Toamua was present and he thanked the SVSG and EU as well as CSSP on behalf of the leaders of Toamua village for engaging their village in this program.