The village of Leauvaa on the western side of the island of Upolu became the host of the community-led event to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) this year.
It also became Leauvaa village’s first experience of Samoa’s new adaptation of the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) initiative.
The event brought together the village’s women’s committee, village leaders, various Government Ministries and organizations.
They heard from Samoa’s Associate Minister for Justice & Courts Administration, Sooalo Mene, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu, as well as representatives from the women’s committee who all attested to the importance of International Women’s Day but the REACH Initiative as well.
BACKGROUND: REACH initiative starts in Leauva’a Village
Leauvaa Village is one of 10 villages participating in the trial of Samoa’s new REACH pilot initiative, which involves government staff and other service providers travelling together to people’s doorsteps in remote and maritime communities such as Leualesi in Leauvaa, to raise awareness about justice, government and women’s services.
It is led by the Government of Samoa with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO).
Other villages also involved in the pilot initiative are:
• Upolu – Uafato, Fagaloa; Sapunaoa, Falealili; Matata’a, Lefaga; Faleasiu–Uta, Alana Alofi; Leaulesi Leauvaa – Gagaemauga.
• Savaii – Tapueleele; Samalaeulu; Patamea; Safai; Falealupo; Tufutafoe; Paia; Samata–Uta.
The REACH initiative is this year expanding into Tonga and Samoa, with support from UNDP and UN Women Fiji MCO, following its success in Fiji where it began in 2015. The mobile service delivery approach is an integrated government platform to deliver knowledge and awareness about justice, government and women’s services to remote and vulnerable populations. It aims to enhance citizen access to justice and government services for rural, maritime and otherwise remote citizens in Samoa through integration of services and remote delivery by service providers with the focus on reaching the furthest behind first.
Through the REACH pilot initiative, UNDP and UN Women support people and their government in both Tonga and Samoa to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on Goal 5 for gender equality and Goal 16 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.