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Samoan Nofotane women resiliently crafting a brighter future

Joseph Guenzler -

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has entered a six-month partnership with the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG).

The collaboration aims to enhance the business skills of Nofotane women entrepreneurs.

Nofotane women are Indigenous women in Samoa who marry outside their home village and reside in their husband's village and frequently face challenges.

These women often encounter restrictions on decision-making in their households and communities, exposing them to various forms of violence.

"Victims of crime and those in need are well supported, safe and in control of restoring their lives," a SVSG representative said.

The SVSG/ESCAP Nofotane Business Development Training initiative seeks to economically empower 100 existing or potential Nofotane women entrepreneurs in remote or rural areas of Samoa.

The project aims to equip them with essential skills to enhance business sustainability.

The products showcased on the Notafone website are crafted by Nofotane women, actively choosing self-reliance as a means to overcome poverty or domestic abuse.

By participating in this project, these women are making a bold statement, declaring "it is enough," and demonstrating their commitment to improving their circumstances.

Commencing with the creation and testing of three business modules, the project will focus on key areas crucial for Nofotane women managing small and micro businesses.

The modules will address financial literacy, encompassing access to finance, the promotion of Nofotane products, and the evaluation of product quality.

The initial gathering of the selected Nofotane women entrepreneurs under the Nofotane Business Development Training Project with United Nations ESCAP. (Image: SVSG/Instagram)

In February 2024, the training content will be delivered through two-day workshops for 20 women in Savaii and 80 women in Upolu.

Post-training, the project will grant seed funding of US$500 to six chosen Nofotane women entrepreneurs with promising business cases for expanding or establishing small businesses producing Nofotane products.

These entrepreneurs will further benefit from mentorship and coaching sessions provided by SVSG Village Representatives.

Within the framework of ESCAP's Catalyzing Women's Entrepreneurship (CWE) program, this project aligns with efforts to support women's entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Samoa, and Vietnam.

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