9th December 2020, Apia, Samoa The Samoa Fa’afafine Association today received a vehicle donated by the United Nations Development Programme’s Multi-Country Western Pacific Integrated HIV/TB Programme’s Global Fund.
One of SFA’s objectives as an organisation is to provide the fa’afafine community with STI/HIV services in collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Clinic.
The vehicle will enable the Association to go out more frequently and extend their services to remote areas.
“One of the key challenges in increasing access to and reaching SFA’s key populations, especially in the rural and remote areas of Upolu and Savaii, is access to transportation”.
“UNDP and the Global Fund is pleased to assist SFA in this area, so that they can fully serve and achieve the purposes of this programme and their organisation,” said UNDP Resident Representative to Samoa, Jorn Sorensen.
“It is our hope and expectation that this vehicle will help SFA reach their target groups – who are some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach – namely transgenders and females who are involved in transactional sex. We believe that this vehicle will make it easier for SFA to provide them with prevention packages for protection from STIs and HIV, as well as conducting STI and HIV testing for them to know their status and get treated. This is important work, especially in our society, where these people may not willingly come forward to receive these vital services due to fear of discrimination or stigmatisation.”
SFA acknowledged this as a significant achievement in the Association’s 14-year lifespan.
“In the current circumstances related to SOE restrictions, movement and gathering in crowded places are quite restricted. Now receiving a vehicle is enabling SFA’s HIV/STI testing to be provided on a door to door basis. This is where the services will be delivered to its members in hard-to-reach places in the rural areas. Furthermore, the vehicle will also inspire more productive and constructive work that will boost the confidence of our community with our outreach services,” said Samoa Fa’afafine Association President, Alex Sua.
SFA has been a Sub Recipient or Implementing Partner since 2017 under the UNDP Multi Country Pacific Programme for HIV, TB and Malaria, funded by the Global Fund.
The Association’s first and current office space at the Maota o le Alofa in Apia, was also secured under the same programme.
The UNDP Management Unit for this programme is based in Suva, while the Programme Analyst, Tuliau Sara Faletoese-Su’a, responsible for the Samoa Sub Recipients, is based at the UNDP MCO Samoa. Tuliau works closely with SFA, the Samoa Family Health Association and the Ministry of Health to help achieve the goals of the HIV/TB Programme, contributing to the Government of Samoa’s overall vision for A Healthy Samoa, as well as UNDP’s work in HIV and health which is guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.