DYWA focuses on empowering people through culinary training
“It is the vision of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs to empower the people of American Samoa through training,” said DYWA Acting Director Pa‘u Roy Taito Ausage whose department is busy planning and carrying out a plethora of activities for Youth Month.
Module 1 of the ‘Cooking Training for Women’ concluded last month and according to Pa’u, the program was implemented “to meet the needs of our people by utilizing the skill of cooking for families and communities, and to understand the availability of local resources and their uses in daily meals.”
A statement from DYWA says that Pa’u envisioned the need to arm our people with the skill of cooking. “Cooking has its significant involvement in every function or event held in every household, community, church organization, and the government.”
Culinary Training for women, youth, and men is a program that was initiated by the DYWA. The program started on April 22 and was held twice a week during an eight-week period at the old Election Office in Utulei. Last month, a total of 26 women and four men successfully completed the training and were presented their certificates of completion by Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.
The sessions were overseen by Malia Masalosalo, who was assisted by Maria F. Peretiso.
Among the many objectives of the training program is the goal of helping its participants develop small catering/food processing businesses using the skills they learned from the training. Those who successfully completed the cooking program include:
Ana Tyrell, Anamalia Talatala, Caroline Pua’asu’emai, Diana Ulberg, Edwin John Aki Jungblut, Aliimuamua Emau Rapi Amosa, Faanuu Malauulu, Faapepele Selu, Fagogo Sua, Faimalie Tupua, Fataivao Tuiolemotu, Gafatasi Te’o, Karyn Iosefa Futialo, Lea Fotualii, Malelega Ligi Toleafoa, Me T. Sefulu, Norvin Petelo, Olafou Tulua Mase, Olelia Aigamaua Gaisoa, Pita Posiano Faumuina, Ruta A’asa, Sara Sooaemalelagi, Saunoa Moe, Seira Live, Suesue J. Oliver, Taute’e Tuiasosopo, Tauvaga Faumauina, Theresa Fiatu, Toalua Mareko, and Tumanu Nonu Pupu
The program was not an “Easy A” course but instead, introduced the participants to three training sessions that included hot production, carmase/garde manager, and baking.
Hot production training involved preparing and cooking all heavy meal items like soups, chow mein, bread crumb chicken, skillet chicken, etc.
Carmase a.k.a garde manager is the group that prepares various kinds of sauces like dressings, icings, frostings, fruit jams, green and fruit salads, and sandwiches, while the baking group handles all the bakery essentials and goodies like dough, muffins, bread, donuts, buns, pie, and cookies.
DYWA reports that in the beginning of the training, 80% of the participants knew nothing about how to cook, how to manage portions of ingredients used in every meal to feed a family of up to ten people, and how to ensure that the ingredients would last throughout the week.
But by the end of the course, the students were well-versed on how to control and manage portions used, how to take advantage of local fruits and vegetables by using them in their dishes, the significance of “First In, First Out” or (FIFO) — whatever goes in the refrigerator first should be the first one out — and the need to practice proper sanitation and safety at all times during the cooking process.
According to the participants, the skills they learned are hard to get now-a-days, as training programs are expensive; and they are very fortunate that the American Samoa Government is offering different sorts of training programs through DYWA, free of charge.
Those who completed the cooking training program also attended and completed the Budget and Financial Management Training program, also hosted by DYWA that was held on June 14-15. This was an effort to prepare the cooking program graduates for owning and operating their own business in the future.
DYWA has informed the program participants about the availability of small business loans from the Development Bank of American Samoa to help them get their businesses off the ground. This is something Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, a former DBAS president, said he very much supports.
The second module of the Cooking Training Program kicked off on Monday.
“Culinary Training has been an eye-opener for all the graduates,” said a statement from DYWA. “It creates opportunities for the people of American Samoa to start small businesses to generate income for their families, communities, and the government as a whole. It also creates more employment opportunities to alleviate poverty in families due to the high cost of living.”