Toamua stands by commitment that prevention is better than cure

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Violence against children remains a major issue in Samoa, whereas nine out of 10 children experience violent discipline in their homes.
The phrase ‘Prevention is better than cure’ fits in well with Samoa Victim Support Group’s holistic preventive and responsive child protection programme, in partnership with UNICEF Pacific.
And the parents and adolescents of Toamua, couldn’t agree more, according to a statement issued by the SVSG.
The prevention program is to prevent child abuse by ensuring that communities have a better understanding of violence against children, and are able to prevent and respond to the same.
“And from the seven targeted villages for the program, this week saw the parents and adolescents of Toamua, progressing to Module 4 of the Positive Discipline Parenting, and Module 4 of the Life Skills Development for Adolescents.
“Close to 50 parents and adolescents from Toamua are continuing with the Program since 2021.”
During the session, the parents shared how the program has supported them in how their parenting discipline methods impacted their children growing up.
“Other parents recalled how they themselves were disciplined the hard way, through smacking and harsh words, and were mindful that if they were to break the cycle of violence, they have to start practicing positive discipline parenting.
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 perfectly 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.”
According to Ison, “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.”
The community prevention program for the protection of children in Samoa is part of a continuing partnership between SVSG and 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.” Georgina Lui, Chair of the SVSG Board