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Samoa celebrates its first Fa’afafine Week

Members of the Samoa Fa’afafine Association with Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also the Patron and father figure for SFA during Fa’afafine week in Samoa —a first time event.  [Photo: JL]
Commemorates contributions of fa’afafine community to Samoa

Apia, SAMOA — “Human Rights, gender equity, cultural views and HIV&AIDS Prevention” were among the issues that will be discussed during the Fa’afafine Week in Samoa, a first time event according to Samoa Fa’afafine Association (SFA) President So’oalo To’oto’oali’i Roger Stanley. Held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, So’oalo told Samoa News Fa’afafine Week is an initiative to commemorate the contribution of the Fa’afafine community to Samoa.

Their theme “Ola Tauivi & Tautua Alofa” (to persevere in life & serve with love) and it highlights key achievements by the Association and promotes the Advocacy role of SFA Inc. on key social issues such as Human Rights, Gender Equity, HIV&AIDS Prevention and improving the socio economic standard of the community.

So’oalo said that funding and assistances were provided in collaboration with the British High Commission Asia Pacific Bilateral Program, which enabled the weeklong event.

She said that in collaboration with the British High Commission – Asia Pacific Bilateral Program Fund, SFA Inc. was able to secure funding to push forward its Human Rights Agenda specifically to align SFA’s Commitment to Human Rights for all Faafafine and Faafatama.

The funding also allowed the Association to update and strategize all of SFA’s strategic objectives within the mandated Human Rights mission including an Outreach project to schools and promotion of fa’afafine youth engagement and to revive the hugely successful FIVA Human Rights Awards as a national platform to recognize Human Rights Champions in Samoa.

In addition, SFA is creating a meaningful and relevant media campaitn, told through the perspectives and stories of SFA Inc. in the human rights discourse.

According to the President of SFA, the purpose of the Project is for SFA Inc. to lead a Human Rights Campaign to improve the social acceptance of the Fa’afafine community including LGBTI in Samoa by facilitating government, civil society, development partners and community support through consultations, one on one dialogues, national forums and implementing outreach activities.

“In addition to the British High Commission support, SFA Inc. also received assistance from the US Embassy for HIV & AIDS Prevention and Awareness to continue the great work it is already doing with the Samoa Ministry of Health and civil society partners.

“A conscious decision was made by the Association to integrate all these initiatives which led to the launch of the first Fa’afafine Week beginning with the commemoration of the World AIDS Day on the December 1, and ending with the celebration of the Human Rights Day on the December 10, 2016,” she said.

So’oalo said Fa’afafine Week is the first of its kind and a national celebration that is historical, ground breaking and timely.

“This is the Association’s response to over three decades of advocacy and challenging the status quo by pioneering a unique social movement for positive social change in Human Rights, Gender Equality and HIV & AIDS Prevention. Most importantly it is the fa’afafine way of acknowledging fa’afafine greatness in its own unique flamboyant and fa’afafabulousss way.”

Samoa News will report on other issues that came about during the weeklong events.