While the celebration of Samoa’s culture and traditions as per the Teuila Festival for 2017 has come to an end, the empowered nofotane women used the festival to enjoy the socio-economic returns from being empowered.
This is through the nofotane women’s products sold at their own market stall set up at the Teuila Festival site in front of the government building. The new entrepreneurs are unemployed nofotane women who have been trained by S.V.S.G. with funding support from the U.N. Women Fund for Gender Equality, on livelihood skills that started in August, for the Nofotane Project.
Proudly representing the villages of Amaile, Samusu, Satitoa, Tafitoala and Fuailolo’o in Upolu as well as Satui in Savaii, the nofotane women sold a variety of handicrafts, from woven bags and hats to table mats, tapa cloth and many others, all from the materials found in their environment. ‘The Nofotane’ brand was proudly attached to each of the different products on sale, and it represented an important shift for the unemployed nofotane women, a shift towards enjoying the socio-economic returns from being empowered.
And the story behind the empowerment of nofotane women was the saleable niche, especially the tourists who were amazed by the confidence of these women. Most of the customers bought the nofotane women’s products because of the success story associated with their economic empowerment.
These are same women, who a month ago, when the Nofotane Project reached their villages, they were dependent on their husbands to provide for their families, with very low self-esteem. You can hear the excitement in their voices when we visited their stall and they each updated us on their sales for the day. This is the expected outcome of the project; to empower nofotane women with skills necessary for them to earn a living to support themselves and their families.
“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality,” said Siliniu Lina Chang, S.V.S.G. President.
“Thank you so much to the tourists and the locals who supported the empowered nofotane women by buying ‘The Nofotane’ brand.”