16 Days of activism on Ending Violence Against Women, National Disability Week and Ending Violence Campaign launch
The Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) and its partners remain steadfast in its endeavors to promote Safer Families Stronger Samoa.
One of its annual activities is the commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism on Ending Violence Against Women and children (E.V.A.W.) which is jointly commemorated with the National Disability Week 2017.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign promotes the elimination of violence against women and children, with events throughout the 16 days commencing on the 25th of November to the 10th of December 2017. This year’s advocacy promotes the theme of “Aiga Saogalemu, Samoa Manuia” – Safe families, Stronger Samoa”.
In order to promote this important message, the M.W.C.S.D. is supporting village programmes whereby villages engage all social groups such as matais, church leaders, men, women, boys, girls, persons with disabilities, elderly and others in the promotion of the positive messages and practices to prevent and address family violence at all levels.
It is anticipated that through the village programmes, it can be an activity in the community level for bringing people together in a collective effort to increase their awareness as well as trying to change their behaviors towards changing lives.
Furthermore, this initiative hopes to create safe spaces and an environment for people to discuss freely and allow them to talk about issues of violence they face, people are motivated and supported to seek help and change their violent attitudes and encouraging others to change their behavior by claiming responsibility and taking ownership of the initiatives. These programs also promote the prevention of all forms of violence against persons with disabilities as part of their efforts to commemorate the National Disability Week.
A total of 30 villages is supported for the 16 Days campaign empowering village leaders to promote awareness on family violence , at the same time for village leaders to take the lead in creating safe villages with zero tolerance of violence.
This can be done through village sports day, seminars, cultural and contemporary performances through the use of songs, drama, speeches, poems and others.
The Village-led programmes are supported by the Government of Samoa, Samoa Women Shaping Development Program, and Samoa Disability Program (Government of Australia).
M.W.C.S.D. supported the Fun Day/Wheel to E.V.A.W. at Lalomanu supported by U.N.Women, Australian Government, M.W.C.S.D, and Queen’s Baton Relay on the 25th November 2017 to kick start the campaign.
This was a Village Fun Day of fun run/wheel, games, arts, crafts and sports centered at Lalomanu village. In addition, M.W.C.S.D. will launch a Campaign aiming to urgently address family violence in Samoa on Friday 1st December, 2017.
The objective of the Communication Campaign is to reduce the incidences of Family Violence in Samoa through reducing society’s tolerance for gender inequality and gender based violence, whilst trying to change individuals and groups attitudes and behavior towards women and girls as well as within families.
The campaign has four components Zero Tolerance of Violence, creating Safer Homes, Changing Lives by changing behavior and an Our Responsibility work stream encouraging everyone in Samoa to play an active part and be accountable for reducing violence. The tools were produced with the kind assistance of MSD (NZ) and MFAT (NZ).
The campaign follows on from the release of the 2017 Family Safety Study.
“The study documented alarming statistics that we need to address urgently and this campaign is in line with the report recommendations of strengthening the family unit, promoting family safety and supporting village councils to intervene in incidences of family violence,” said Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo - Tuilaepa, C.E.O. Ministry of Women Community and Social Development.
Radio shows on Friday 1st December, 2017 and materials including case study video, posters, stickers will be distributed to partners and the community for awareness throughout the country.
The hope is for these materials to raise knowledge and make an impact on the attitudes and behaviors of our community towards violence.
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