Stepping out of poverty


Fishing equipment from the project was handed over to the community. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa MCO.

A mother and son team from Saleaumua are actively attempting to step out of poverty, by applying local knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to improve their livelihoods. 

Meaatoa Vaaiga and her son, Eugene, form part of the 26.9 percent of the Samoan population that lives under basic needs poverty. 

Women empowerment and poverty reduction

  • Meaatoa Vaaiga and her son, Eugene, form part of the 26.9 percent of the Samoan population that lives under basic needs poverty.
  • The project evolved from an Early Recovery Project following the tsunami in 2009 and continues to assist rural communities
  • The CCSDP encourages communities to be self-reliant, both economically and socially, by improving and supporting livelihood options and economic related initiatives.

A 2010 poverty report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre and the Samoa Bureau of
Statistics revealed that rural areas - which include the village of Saleaumua - have had slightly higher levels of basic- needs poverty incidence, with some accounting for over 28 per cent. 

Meaatoa is the recent recipient of business tools from the Community-Centered Sustainable Development Programme (CCSDP), a project implemented by the Ministry Women Community and Social Development (MWCSD) in partnership with UNDP. 

The project evolved from an Early Recovery Project following the tsunami in 2009 and continues to assist rural communities. She received a weed whacker to start a small business with her son Eugene, cutting grass for neighbouring villages and charging $20 per hour for the service. 

The mother and son team from Saleaumua are actively attempting to step out of poverty, by applying local knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to improve their livelihoods. 

Meaatoa Vaaiga and her son, Eugene, form part of the 26.9 percent of the Samoan population that lives under basic needs poverty. 

A 2010 poverty report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre and the Samoa Bureau of Statistics revealed that rural areas - which include the village of Saleaumua - have had slightly higher levels of basic- needs poverty incidence, with some accounting for over 28 per cent. 

The CCSDP encourages communities to be self-reliant, both economically and socially, by improving and supporting livelihood options and economic related initiatives. 

The programme focuses on working with pilot communities at village levels, and supports them in the formulation of Village Sustainable Development Plans (VSDPs).

Following a pilot of 3 villages in 2009, a total of 25 villages completed such plans in 2010. 

The project encourages the use of natural and cultural resources to support livelihoods in a manner that promotes gender equality and gender equity. 

One of CCSDPs objectives is to build gender-sensitive community capacity to sustainably manage environmental and income generating initiatives that result from inclusive community-led planning processes. 

The project also supports communities in building an eco-friendly economy that incorporates adaptation and risk- reduction measures. 

The small businesses will be monitored by MWCSD and UNDP for six months for progress made in their communities and the successful integration of their business concepts into local villages. 

Through the project Samoan villagers would also be able to work towards achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, MDG 2 to achieve universal primary education and MDG 3 to promote gender equality and empower women. The CCSDP forms part of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the Pacific 2008-2012. 

The programme objectives are also aligned to sections of the Pacific Plan, and the Samoa Development Strategy as well as the respective National Sustainable Development Plans for the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.