DYWA 100-day report cites improvement in programs and services
The Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) has moved to adopt and implement the practice of collaboration with American Samoa Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector since leadership was taken over by Acting Director Pa’u Roy Ausage as reported in the DYWA’s 100-days report to the governor’s office.
The partnerships between all youth and women's program stakeholders allows and enables the sharing of limited resources, eliminates duplication and fragmentation of services, and promotes harmonious relationships with all service providers responsible for the development of youth and women in the Territory.
Classic examples of this effort were evidenced by numerous projects supporting and enhancing youth development. According to the report, the Awareness Programs in the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy became a consolidated effort by the LBJ Family Planning Division, DOE’s Career Guidance and Counseling Division, Department of Commerce, DYWA, Catholic Education, and Blue Sky Communications.
“This led to the establishment of the Youth Preservation Coalition which became responsible for the teen mentoring programs in all the high schools promoting the preservation of youth and assisting them through peer counseling and support. The Director, in his 100 days report also noted that the “Le Leo” singing competition project became a talent show which entertained the community and simultaneously show cased the singing and musical talents of our youth between the ages of 16 and 25.
According to the report, “To avoid incurring a deficit and ensuring compliance with FY2013 budget, DYWA has adopted and implemented the theory of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.”
“The crafting and implementation of projects which serve the greatest number of participants at minimal costs has been successful. This process is vital in any successful operation and it involves better planning, good judgment, and creativity. Implementing projects to develop youth and women that are inexpensive but effective and produce measurable results is seemingly the way forward for DYWA.”
“Our people are our greatest assets. Utilizing expert trainers from other countries has been proven to be costly and may not be cost effective. “All skills training and capacity building projects for both youth and women were conducted by our own people. The service provided by our own people has been tremendous and we will continue to engage them to assist our youth and women. DYWA is adding additional experts in other fields of interest and will pursue other projects appropriate to meet the needs of our grassroots population,” says the report.
MORE PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH AND WOMEN
The report also notes the addition of numerous programs to address the spiritual, mental, physical, social, educational, health, cultural, and economic development of both youth and women. “During the first 100 days of the Lolo and Lemanu administration, DYWA has conducted eight youth projects which included following the First Pacific Future Leaders Meeting and a Youth Digital Workshop.
Four Women’s projects were also in place and one of them included women inmates at the Tafuna Correctional Facility and Basic Computer Training. According to the report, “Having additional projects for youth and women enables capacity building, skills training, and increased opportunities to find employment.”
IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
“Serving customers to the best of our abilities is a must and DYWA staff has been orientated on the need to improve customer service by answering the phone, responding to queries and requests within a timely manner, and treating all participants of all programs with dignity and respect. Staff should be fair in exercising judgment when registering participants and implementing programs. Equal treatment has been encouraged and being judgmental has to be eliminated,” states the report.
According to the report, as a public service entity, there is the expectation of service delivery at minimal or no cost. “Thus, DYWA staff has been conducting fundraising through car washes, and solicitation for project partnership. Despite a low percentage of positive responses, businesses and private individuals who have contributed and donated have been very supportive and assisted our projects since the beginning of the administration. DYWA will continue to capitalize on the support of our business community and individuals”.
The search for appropriate facilities to conduct projects for DYWA has been quite difficult, according to the report. "Fortunately, ASG agencies have been kind enough to allow DYWA to utilize their conference and/or training facilities with minimal or no cost to DYWA. The new Election Office conference room was the venue for the Samoan oratory language and cultural program."
"The old election office now occupied by DOE’s Career Guidance and Counseling Division was used for the Youth Digital Workshop, Cooking Training, Budget/Financial Management Training, and other projects. The Department of Agriculture's Samoan Fale has been the site for fine mat weaving projects and other closing ceremonies such as the sewing and pillow case embroidery training and more," notes the report.
"There is a need to house all projects under one roof and we look forward to the completion of the new youth and women’s community center at Pago Pago at the former location of the Korean House."
DYWA reports it has just four vehicles. "The Toyota Sienna Van is used for the sole purpose of the Homeless Shelter operation funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (USHUD). The 1997 Ford Explorer should be surveyed after a new vehicle is added to our fleet to assist with projects. There is a need for a long bed pickup truck to transport much needed materials and equipment for projects such as chairs, tables, PA system, food items, and more."
The report points out that the Limited budget can hinder program development, however, projects should not be money driven. “The existence of a strategic plan for programs should be the driving force for new and innovative programs that are economical and produce greater results. The DWYA report proposes an additional $50,000 every year be added to their budget.