If you have a strong heart, you would care enough to make the difference and end violence in your families and in your communities.

This was the message from the United Nations Women Country Programme Coordinator Ms Suisala Mele Maualaivao in an interview with N.U.S. Media.

A message that was shared during the Fun Run with the international theme ‘Strong hands, stop violence against women and girls’ held at the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) Fale this morning.

“Today is the international Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and it is celebrated globally around the world,” she said.

“It is the first day of 16 days of activism. It starts with the International Elimination of Violence Against Women and it finishes on November 10th with the international Day of Human Rights.”

So we decided to do a fun run to end violence against women.

Mrs. Mauala’ivao also explained the main aim behind the fun run.

“We really just wanted the public to come out and do a healthy activity, such as zumba, running and eat some healthy food,” she said.

“If you have a strong heart, you are caring enough to make a difference and end violence in your family and in your communities.”

“Strong hand comes from strong heart. It is not about physically but it is about being brave enough to say that this is wrong and you need different ways to engage with people you care about.”

This is the first time for such Fun Run event to be celebrated here in Samoa and Mrs. Mauala’ivao spoke of how the public participated.

“It is the first but I do not think it is going to be last. Everybody had a really good time and it really nice to see,” Mrs. Mauala’ivao said.

“It has been raining and we thought there might be fifty people but it looks like we had 150.

“Everybody needs to be involved because we have to end violence.”

 The finale of the event will be the international day for Human Rights.

“The human Right Institute of Samoa is going to launch their National Inquiry on Gender Based Violence,” she said.

“It is obvious that there are a lot of different ministries, organisations and government bodies know that this is the real issue in Samoa, and we are all trying to do our part in one way or another.”

The Fun Run is not the only programme for the first day of the international E.V.A.W.

There is going to be the Ten’s Tournament at the Apia Park later today which is the E.V.A.W. Tournament hosted by the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.).

Other initiatives also include a Y.W.C.A. Rise Up Forum at the Ministry of Health conference room and also the Samoa Family Health has a session too and these are open to the public.

The U.N. Women has partnered with Digicel Samoa, Ministry of Women’s Community and Social Development (W.C.S.D.), Samoa Australian Police Partnership (S.A.P.P.) and U.N. Agencies in commemorating and promoting programmes to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

Caption: Media Class – Media and Journalism students who took part in this morning’s Fun Run.

Caption: Mele Maualaivao – UN Women Country Programme Coordinator sharing the message of ending violence against

women during the Fun Run this morning.

*Katalina Tovia is a final year media and journalism student at NUS.




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