The Samoan government has given $279,940 to the Samoa Victims Support Group (SVSG) – the largest grant for an NGO in Samoa.
The group’s chair, Georgina Lui, said the grant was strong recognition of the work the NGO has done to eliminate violence among Samoan families.
In the past, SVSG received funds from other organizations, but Lui said that with the grant given directly by the government, they could do much more.
“Fortunately for us, it’s a broad-spectrum grant,” she said.
“Thirty percent will go to the Campus of Hope to provide food and medical assistance to our various shelters that we have here. Fifteen percent of that will go to our welfare programs.
“Twenty percent of that will go to our men’s rights programs and our youth empowerment programs. And five percent of that grant will go to the council, so we’re going to be targeting victims of abuse.
“Hopefully when we have the next funding if we are successful we will increase counseling service providers through SVSG because we want to integrate people and children who have been through the shelter already and are still suffering from trauma but are going back to live with the communities,” Lui said.
However, lockdown restrictions for the past two weeks have forced the SVSG shelter to close.
“Before we could even accept anyone into a shelter, we had to test them and at the moment we cannot accept anyone because we don’t have anyone to do the tests,” Lui said.
“So our shelter is closed at the moment and will continue to be until we get past level two I think.”
The Samoan government has stated that 46% of women in Samoa experience some kind of violence from their partner.
This was reaffirmed when the Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, said there had been an increase in cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence during the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, Lui said the numbers could be reduced.
“We have been fortunate in recent years to have the CSR program and that has alleviated a lot of financial worries for many families here because we have income from overseas, so those burdens have been kind of eased.
“So, and alongside better education, I think we can see a reduction in domestic violence numbers.”
Looking ahead, Lui said the grant was the start of a positive relationship with the government.
“We are really grateful to the government for that and I think the partnership with the government is the start and we hope we can continue to get funding from them and continue to run the programs especially the advice and outreach.”