Sewing and Elei Project Benefits Low Income Families in Savaii

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The cheerful faces of the Alataua i Sisifo women during the official closing of their project.

A project aimed at encouraging women’s participation in the economy through upskillig their capacity in sewing and elei printing came to a close this week.

Forty-eight women of Alataua i Sisifo participated in a Sewing and Elei project, supported by the Government of Australia in partnership with the Government of Samoa through the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP).

The initiative was part of the Samoa Women Shaping Development Programme (SWSDP-Gender Fund).

The facilitators were two experienced sewers from the district with extensive knowledge and 10 years of sewing experience.

Displayed elei materials/ clothing sewn by the Alataua i Sisifo Women

“Through the program, the participants were enabled to share ideas and work collaboratively in creating new patterns to boost their sales, giving them economic empowerment to provide financial support for their families and community.”

Member of Parliament for Alataua-i-Sisifo and coordinator of the District’s project, Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau acknowledged the funding assistance from the Government of Australia and CSSP.

“The grant has opened an opportunity to many of our unemployed women and youth in Alataua district to acquire sewing and elei skills to help earn extra income for their families;

“The trainings have strengthened the unity of women in our district; it has brought them together through sharing ideas, feasting together and enjoying each other’s company and encouraging one another”, said Aliimalemanu.

One of the key success factors of the training was the fact that it was delivered by locals and women of their own district.

“The participants have testified about the impact of the training and even though many have attended similar trainings in the past but they have found this project more effective since it’s carried out by women of the district which made it easier for them to communicate and seek help when needed,” she said.

Women of Alataua proudly displaying their elei and sewn clothing featuring sewing machines procured under the SWSDP Gender Fund

The Women’s Committee of each village will host an exhibition to showcase their handicrafts and elei printings.

“We have decided that the main event for the whole district will take place at the end of every year to display our achievements throughout the year,” said Aliimalemanu.

A key focus of the initiative is to empower women and advocate gender equity, however, the press release from the CSSP Grant facility repeatedly refers to roles and duties specific to women. 

“The participants are all homemakers who despite being unemployed, their primary role is managing their households;

“The trainings provided an opportunity for the women to also establish economic independence through their contribution to financially supporting their families whilst tending to their domestic duties”, reads the press release.

The SAT$30,000 grant was made available under the Samoa Women Shaping Development Programme (SWSDP-Gender Fund) to financially support this sewing and elei project for the Alataua I Sisifo district. The fund supports small-scale initiatives that highlight Gender Equality, and Women Empowerment, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against Women, with special recognition of the role of women in society, in terms of leadership, and their full participation in sustainable development. 

The CSSP and its partners wish to congratulate the Alataua I Sisifo district for a milestone achieved in the completion of their sewing and elei project in June this year. The Alataua i Sisifo district comprises of three villages Neiafu, Falelima and Tufutafoe who benefitted from this grant. 

For more information, please contact Sa’u Sefulu Salesulu (CSSP Grant Project Officer – DFAT) or Tiatia Elu Motootua (Grants Facility Manager) on telephone 24617/27278 or email cssp.office@cssp.gov.ws

The cheerful faces of the Alataua i Sisifo women during the official closing of their project.

Photo 3: Women of Alataua proudly displaying their elei and sewn clothing featuring sewing machines procured under the SWSDP Gender Fund