The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) has partnered with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative through UNESCO, and the Samoa Victim Support Group to roll out a communication and advocacy training program that brings together survivors of the SVSG House of Hope, and broadcasters of Samoa’s national radio station, 2AP.
MCIT Minister Afamasaga Toeolesulusulu Lepuiai Rico Tupai was in attendance with UNESCO Director Ms NISHA, and the Director of SVSG Siliniu Lina Chang, to officially launch the 6-month program that aims to train survivors on how to tell their stories through the media, as well as build the capacity of radio broadcasters on domestic violence reporting. The training is delivered by local consultants, Pacific Global Solutions.
Speaking at the official launch of the 4-day training the Minister of MCIT and 2AP Radio said it was time to take action.
“There have been enough studies, research and data to establish that there is violence against women and children in Samoa, and now, it is time for action”, said Afamasaga.
“The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in addition to the work already in place by other Government Ministries, and with the support of the Spotlight Initiative, will utilise and manage resources to address this important area of Communication and Awareness of the impacts of violence against women and children in Samoa,” added the Minister.
The Minister went on to highlight the importance of building the capacity of local broadcasters and all of the Samoa media, to understand the sensitivities of the issues and deliver appropriate messages.
“Radio 2AP will promote anti-violent messages and air the voices of you, our brave warriors, and raise awareness of the issues on a nation-wide level”.
“This all so important training focuses on empowering survivors to confidently advocate for ending violence in Samoa.”
The Minister said the key objective of the training is to use information and data as a tool for informed messages of advocacy.
“Survivors will learn to develop key messages that are evidence-based and be able to confidently quote research data, to back their experiences. And specifically for announcers, the adoption and development of VOX POPS or short messages to be aired nation-wide on Radio 2AP”.
“And most importantly, the participants will be part of this nation-wide solution by using their new-found knowledge and understanding to work with all stakeholders in addressing this continuing challenge in our community”.
“Survivors’ voices will be heard across the nation on Radio 2AP, sending the strong message that VIOLENCE IS NOT OK AND WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED”.
The Minister acknowledged the funding assistance from UNESCO, the support from SVSG and the courage of the survivors from the House of Hope; and Radio 2AP for coordinating the project.
ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT INITIATIVE
The Spotlight Initiative leverages the latest evidence and thinking on violence against women and girls (VAWG) and works to apply it within the context of country-specific insight and analysis. It is comprised of six pillars that, together, form a cohesive and comprehensive approach to ending VAWG. Country Programmes are developed through a collaborative, inclusive process that aims to respond to the needs and aspirations of multiple stakeholders, prioritizing those who are most at risk and/or facing intersecting forms of discrimination. In Samoa, the focus of the programme is on domestic and intimate partner violence. The six pillars include: 1. Law and policy 2. Institutional strengthening 3. Prevention 4. Quality essential services 5. Data management 6. Women’s movement and civil society.
The work proposed under this project comes under the third pillar of Prevention.
Samoa ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in November 1994 and despite a relatively robust legal framework that seeks to protect children from violence, the available data indicates that children in Samoa experience violence in several contexts, including within the home, in schools and in the community.
In a UNICEF situational analysis report on Children in Samoa published in 2017, it is stated that 41% of school children reported being physically hurt by a teacher at school while 77% of parents reported using physical violence to discipline their children.
In a more recent National Public Inquiry into Family Violence Report published in 2018 by the Office of the Ombudsman, it was found that, “Physical, harsh verbal discipline, violence and sexual violence has reached epidemic levels”.
National Public Inquiry into Family Violence in Samoa, Report 2018
- 9 out of 10 children in Samoa experience violence in their lifetime;
- Physical discipline/violence is often extreme in nature, going way beyond what is ‘reasonable punishment’ under Samoan law;
- Sexual abuse of children and incest levels have reached ‘epidemic’ proportions in Samoa.
Download full report here: