How the Spotlight Initiative offered psychosocial support and psychological first aid training to local CSOs

Written by Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Samoa, Communications Analyst

Participants and facilitators of the Training of Trainers on Psychosocial Support and Psychological First Aid to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, held at the Millenia Hotel, Apia in May 2021 with UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen, Vice President, Peseta Arasi Tiotio and Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Umbrella for Non Government Organisations, Fuimaono Vaitolo Ofoia (middle front). Photo: UNDP Samoa/L.Lesa

If the words ‘psychosocial support and psychological first aid’ are a mouthful, they are rightly so if you consider the magnitude of their meaning. Put simply, the phrase refers to the humane, supportive and practical help given to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events.

It points to the kind of support offered by those who are in a position to do so, when terrible things happen to other people they can reach. More importantly, it gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities.

The…


Written by Laufaleaina Lesa, Communications Analyst, UNDP Samoa

“Moodle is easy to access and I can confidently navigate it, it’s readily available and overall very helpful for my studies,” said Okesene Moananu, a Year 13 student, and Head Boy for one of the country’s premier educational institutions, Samoa College.

Moodle has provided options for local schools like Samoa College for both students and teachers alike, to continue even during times of uncertainty. (l-r) Samoa College Head Girl, Mareta Malifa; Vice Principal, Patricia Golovale-Reupena; Head of Department for Computing, Avalii Asa; and Head Boy, Okesene Moananu. Photo: UNDP Samoa/L.Lesa

Digital Transformation Project — about making a difference

Samoa College is one of seven schools in Samoa that are part of a pilot project to support the digitalisation of governments and local solutions for COVID-19 response in Samoa.

About 1,000 students are impacted by this project which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for digital development through enhanced e-Governance…


How a UNDP-supported project changed the life of one woman and altered the renewable energy landscape in Samoa forever

Written by Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Samoa, Communications Analyst

The Afolau Biomass Gasification Plant at Mulifanua in June 2021. Photo: UNDP Samoa/L.Lesa

After more than a decade as a college teacher, you couldn’t ask for a more drastic career change than becoming a plant operator at the nation and region’s only biomass gasification plant.

But that was exactly the case for Ruta Falaniko Utupo, a 34-year-old mother of one from the village of Sagafili at Mulifanua, who gave up her day job of 12 years to begin work as an operator at the Afolau Biomass Gasification Plant, located in her village.

It was a choice that the former Nuuausala College teacher said she has…


What is social protection? How can we help the most vulnerable and the poorest through social protection measures?

Written by Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Samoa, Communications Analyst

A street vendor hawking his wares through the village of Falease’ela, Lefaga. It’s people like him who work in the informal sector that any Social Protection mechanism should seek to address first. Photo: UNDP Samoa/L.Lesa

Social protection is a universal human right.

The need for social protection is a critical concern for governments across the globe, with the adoption of social protection mechanisms expanded significantly around the world in the past two decades to reduce poverty, inequality and exclusion.

The advent of the global COVID-19 crisis with its huge economic and social costs has put even more emphasis on having in place solid social protection floors — or the first level of social protection in a national social protection system — that are country-tailored to provide the…


Written by Jordanna Mareko, WILS Project Coordinator — Communication, Advocacy and Awareness

Sisterhood: Ferila Seve (left) and Gagaemalae Tai’i (Tamaitai matua o le nuu) — two women from different backgrounds who are now working together thanks to their shared village of Foailalo’s Breakthrough Initiative under the WILS Project. Photo: WILS Project/J.Mareko

Ferila Seve came into the village of Foailalo some twenty plus years ago. Married into the village, she joined other women in Foailalo who are known as nofotane. This is a term, or a reference, given to women who after marriage, live in their husband’s village with the husband’s family.

In 2020, a leadership training targeting women and girls from the district of Palauli included a group of women from Foailalo. …


A young boy tries unsuccessfully to collect sacks washed away at the height of flooding in the Apia town area on December 18, 2020. This area at Convent Street, directly in front of the Marist Primary School and behind the Catholic Cathedral, is notorious for flooding during the cyclone season. Photo: UNDP Samoa

It could have been worse.

That’s what Lagi Keresoma, a resident of Samoa’s capital Apia, said about the effects of the floods that inundated her property and many others in the area on the morning of December 18th 2020.

“Although this flood was quite destructive, it could have been much
worse if it weren’t for the upgraded work on the Vaisigano wall that
has protected many families from re-experiencing the impacts of Cyclone
Evan in 2012. When Evan hit, many homes were swept away then when the ocean surge hit the Apia area and the Vaisigano river overflowed its banks causing major destruction…


How sustainable land management helps local farmers

The Alipia farm at Auala, Savaii — a lesson in sustainable land management. Photo: UNDP Samoa / L. Lesa

Sixty-four year-old Malaeolemā Alipia quickly chopped up freshly picked cucumbers from her garden and stirred them into a pot of tinned fish that was already simmering on the open fire.

Hanging by the door of the outside kitchen that she’s cooking in is a basket of cooked taro from yesterday’s umu (an above ground oven of hot volcanic stones) that will go with the meal.

One of her daughters, Lisa, had boiled the kettle and scooped in a generous dollop of koko Samoa (delectable Samoan cocoa, freshly pounded), and stirred in the right…

UNDP Samoa

UNDP Multi-Country Office for the Cook Islands 🇨🇰, Niue 🇳🇺, Samoa 🇼🇸, & Tokelau 🇹🇰

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store