The Department of Youth and Women's Affairs (DYWA) has completed its Samoan Oratory Language and Cultural Training Project, called Faletalanoa I.


DYWA Acting Director Pa'u Roy Taito Ausage, in an email to Samoa News earlier this week, explained that the goal of the project is to enable local youth and women to understand the origin of proverbial expressions or sayings that are used metaphorically (usually when verbal cultural exchanges are made during traditional Samoan ceremonies), the profound and significant definitions and meanings, and the contextual applications in oratory speeches.


Pa'u explained, “It is common amongst our youth to request a Samoan oratory speech from an adult for various cultural functions and quite often, our youth would memorize these proverbial expressions without full knowledge as to their meanings and widely acceptable contextual applications in our Samoan culture and language.” He added, “The training was also perceived as an opportunity for our youth to openly express themselves by asking questions and/or provide responses on information they already knew.”


Since February 5, at least forty participants, including twenty youth, ten women, and chiefs have been attending the Samoan Oratory Language and Cultural Training Program  sessions which were held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. at the Election Office compound in Tafuna. The ten-week training concluded last month on April 11.


Faletalanoa 1 included discussions on proverbial expressions used by orators in oratory speeches and presentations; sua and 'ava presentations and formats; culturally-based announcements of food contributions; and other pertinent details of Samoan cultural practices. 


Five young people and several others completed 40 hours of Faletalanoa 1 and were presented with certificates of completion to acknowledge their accomplishments. 


“The participation of the women and several chiefs provided the kind of forum needed by youth to present what they have prepared and to assist in developing their self-confidence, and perhaps eliminate stage fright or fear of public speaking,” Pa'u said. 


He concluded, "There is so much potential in our young people to excel as orators in our Samoan culture, and this will definitely assist in the maintenance and preservation of our Samoan language. As more and more youth become accustomed to modern day tools in this day and age of technology, there is a tendency of becoming uninterested in our cultural practices and this may certainly contribute in our Samoan society becoming moribund."


Pa'u would like to express his sincere appreciation to Senator Velega Savali, and the Elections Commissioner and the Election Office staff for not only allowing them to use the Election Office conference room, but also for their support in coordinating the project.


The same program will be offered on June 17 at the Manu’a High School campus in Ta’u, Manu'a; and then on June 25, the program will be offered locally once again for the residents of Tutuila and Aunu'u. 


More information on the Samoan Oratory Language and Cultural Training Program, or questions on how to register for this and other upcoming youth programs can be obtained by contacting DYWA Youth Program Coordinator/Trainer Orepa Feagiai Faoa or DYWA Acting Director Pa’u Roy Taito Ausage directly at 633-2835. 

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