10 years since Samoa joined global campaign of 16 Days of activism, yet results are “disappointing”


Its been 10 years since Samoa joined the global campaign of 16 Days of activism to end violence in all forms, yet results are “very disappointing” said Minister of Women and Social Development, Leota Laki Lamositele, during the launching. 

Held early this morning with a parade where people from all walks of life participated from public servants, students, police officers, lawyers, and government officials to members of the public, the Minister said this year marks the tenth year since Samoa celebrated the 16 Days of Activism. 

“It has been ten years of advocacy at all levels. Ten years of reviews, refocusing, reformulation of policies, legislation, planning of frameworks, and structures but sadly with very disappointing results.

“Activism launches the beginning of a series of activities to promote a violence-free world. It is also a period to reflect on the many lives affected by the irresponsible actions of various people causing harm to others. 

“It is a continuous plight that has affected most if not all of the countries of the world and Samoa is no exception.” 

He said the Samoa Family Safety Study conducted in the year 2000 showed that 46% of women had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. 

“The same study was redone in 2017 and it showed that this figure has escalated to 60%. an increase of 14%. 

“Consultations conducted with stakeholders reported that 87% of women experienced threats of violence with 86% subjected to physical violence specifically and about 10% were raped by a family member. 

“The economic costs of family violence are estimated to be between $98m and $132m, which is approximately 6 to 7% of our GDP.  “The data also shows that the majority of the violence cases or incidences occur in the home.

The statistics above are telling us that our families and communities are not safe, that our children, our people with disabilities, our women and girls and even us men are no longer safe.” 

According to the Minister a few years ago the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development and its partners decided to use the analogy of “Malu i Fale, Malu i Fafo” as the overarching theme of its advocacy for its programs on End Violence against Women and Girls.

“This concept signifies the role of the family as the shelter for each of its members. The ideal representation of the home being a safe haven can be transcribed by the design of a Samoan fale, where the front structure is in coherence with the back structure and the oval sides on both ends basically tighten the whole fale structure allowing for a space in the middle to exist. 

“That space is the safe haven for everyone. That is the va-tapuia so that figuratively when you speak or when you act you do not disrupt that space otherwise the house will collapse. It is critical therefore for that space to exist in harmony. 

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to provide adequate support to keep that SPACE in harmony over the past years despite many different approaches and today we are gathered to try once again.” 

The Minister said for this tenth year the MWCSD has reflected on the journey and has recognised areas in which we need to improve on as the lead Ministry.

Some of these key areas are, incorporation of our traditional and cultural strengths and knowledge; incorporation of spiritual development as a significant part of our advocacy programs; strengthen coordination with the help of communities and our partners; focussing programs on families; improving our monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and improving the way we communicate programs and information.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Intergenerational Dialogues on safe spaces for our women and girls, persons with disability, children and men” These dialogues will be done in the Samoan methodology of “Fofola le Fala” The dialogues and the knowledge sharing will focus on the key areas mentioned above.

“This year we have also changed our theme colour to Black. I am told that whilst Black is generally a negative colour depicting death, uncertainty, and darkness, Black also means power, elegance and solidarity. 

“That using Black for this campaign we can stand together to end all forms of violence. I am told that the change of colour is not a snob to the rest of the world but more a publicity strategy to enforce our message for change.  “I sincerely hope that this change of colour will have a positive impact on this campaign.” 

The Minister said 30 years afo Samoa ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. “Subsequently, we have developed policies and several instrumental documents to guide our ending violence work including various policies now in place. 

“The Malu i fale National Campaign aims to enhance our work for transformative change as everyone’s responsibility especially commitment to safe homes for every family.  “Our Govt. will continue to explore effective ways to ensure the elimination of violence of all forms against women and girls. 

“A good example is the commitment by our Govt to provide funding for those in dire need of basic shelters and water supply over the FY 21-22 and the current FY.

“The government has also supported our NGO partners through the provision of seed funding support for their operation for the FY 21-22 and Govt. will continue with this support so that we are able to condone this evil and eliminate it once and for all.

“To all stakeholders and to our development partners we strongly believe that with your help and support we can do it. We applaud the achievements made so far with your help and the award Samoa received in Mexico recently through the Global Spotlight Leaving no one behind, is attributed largely to your help – and with that we thank you sincerely from the bottom of our hearts.