The village of Toamua is one of seven targeted villages for the Samoa Victim Support Group’s Positive Discipline Parenting programme.
Close to 50 parents and adolescents participated in Module 4 of the Life Skills Development for Adolescents training.
“Violence against children remains a major issue in Samoa, with 9 out of 10 children experiencing violent discipline in their homes” says SVSG Chair Ms Georgina Lui.
The Samoa Victim Support Group’s holistic preventive and responsive child protection programme is run in partnership with UNICEF Pacific.
“The prevention program is to prevent child abuse through ensuring that communities have a better understanding of the impacts on violence against children, and are able to prevent and respond to the same,” said the SVSG Chair in a press release.
The programme has been running since 2021, and during the recent sessions, parents shared on how their parenting discipline methods have impacted their children growing up.
Most parents recalled how they themselves were disciplined the hard way growing up, through smacking and harsh words. “It was important that parent understand how to break the cycle of violence, which starts with them taking a stance end the violence, and start practicing positive discipline parenting,” said Ms Lui.
The discussion among the adolescents focused on the use of drugs and alcohol as well as peer pressure, and their connection to risky behaviours. The Module 4 session at Toamua was summed up by one of the adolescent participants Ison Fatu, who welcomed the positive mentality promoted by the program, to support the resilience of children, especially those growing up in difficult circumstances.
“It is scary to think about the many risks associated with different alcohol and drug use practices, but I am glad that I now understand these risks better,” said Ison Fatu.
The community prevention program for the protection of children in Samoa, is part of a continuing partnership between SVSG and the UNICEF Pacific. It is a partnership that started in 2015, and has extended to include capacity building for all of SVSG’s personnel on child protection, and systems building with SVSG’s partners, specifically on child protection case management.
The seven communities piloted for the 2021-2022 community prevention program are Toamua, Fasitoo-tai, Fagalii, Luatuanuu, Solosolo, Siumu and Samalaeulu in Savaii.
“As a child safe organization, SVSG is appreciative of the partnership established with UNICEF Pacific, to ensure that not only our community are engaged in child protection, but also SVSG’s personnel are adequately supported through capacity building, to carry out their child protection responsibilities,” concluded the Chair of the SVSG Board.