“It’s women who make things happen”

By Sapeer Mayron ,

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NETWORKING EVENT: Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Su’a Julia Wallwork, Aniva Clarke and Fiona Ey attended the networking event on Tuesday to share their local knowledge with visiting international tourism professionals.

NETWORKING EVENT: Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Su’a Julia Wallwork, Aniva Clarke and Fiona Ey attended the networking event on Tuesday to share their local knowledge with visiting international tourism professionals. (Photo: Areta Areta)

Samoa’s climate change champions met international tourism professionals on Tuesday night at Taumeasina Island Resort to discuss how the two worlds intersect in an informal networking session. 

The event was co-sponsored by the visiting Women in Tourism International Alliance, and Samoa’s own Women in Climate Change network (W.I.C.C.).

W.I.C.C. is a local network established to connect various women working in this sector across the country.

One of these women is Su’a Julia Wallwork, the Country Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A). 

She said it’s women who make things happen.

“Men are authoritative, but women are technical and they need to plan because they don’t like to be caught unprepared,” she said.

“As custodians of the home, women are always looking to ensure their community is safe.”

Su’a said she is looking forward to meeting other women to form partnerships with and work towards climate change preparedness. 

Also representing Samoan climate change champions were Aniva Clarke, a teenager who founded an environmental initiative in her school, and her mother Fiona Ey, who is the Honorary Consul for Papua New Guinea.

The Executive Director of Samoa Family Health Association, Lealaiauloto Lia’i Iosefa-Si’itia was in attendance, just a day after receiving her award from Harvard University to honour work in maternal health.

Samoa for Real founder Tauiliili Alise Stunnenberg was there, as the founder of an organisation reframing the conversation around tourism in Samoa.

Founder of Women in Climate Change, Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson said she was pleased to facilitate a space for the two sectors to converge whilst the W.I.T.I.A. group was in Apia.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said she is seeing a growing trend of women coming together to work on global challenges like climate change and sustainable tourism.

Keeping Samoa’s environment pristine is a priority everyone can agree on, she said.

“Climate change has gotten all of us talking, across all sectors because it impacts all of us,” said Fiame. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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