Momentum is slowly but surely being gained in the fight against gender-based violence in Samoa. With the 25th of every month celebrated as ‘Orange Day’ more and more Samoans are getting behind the campaign.
But what exactly is Orange day?
The day calls upon activists, governments and private sector to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls more than once a year.
This is an opportunity to raise awareness about Gender Based Violence and show our solidarity with the movement to End Violence against Women and Girls.
According to U.N. Women’s Country Programme Coordinator, Suisala Mele Maualaivao, this initiative is a great way to raise awareness about the issue.
“Orange Day is about raising awareness in order to address ending violence against women and girls,” she said.
“This is about taking the discussion to a national level so that we all can contribute to changing mindsets and altering behavior for a safer Samoa.”
Another part of the campaign called ‘Buy it! Wear it! Sell it!’ targets businesses to place any orange item they have on sale to encourage clients to purchase orange clothing or items with the expectation of wearing said clothing on Orange day, the 25th of every month.
In turn the U.N. Women provides a high profile media and social media campaign to promote the businesses that participate as well as display the social responsibility participating businesses have towards ending violence against women and girls.
Even our rugby boys are seen supporting the initiative through a recent partnership between the Samoa Rugby Union and U.N. women where they dedicated the Samoa vs. Tonga match to ending gender based violence.
Both teams wore Orange arm bands in support of the cause; players from the Manu Samoa team were also involved in an E.V.A.W. (Ending Violence against Women) video.
“There is no place in our sport or our communities for violence against women,” said Manu Samoa Head Coach, Namulauulu Alama Ieremia.
“We have a responsibility as Samoans to be role models and rugby gives us a platform to influence and help as many people as we can.”
But how does wearing orange on the 25th help stop the issue of violence against women?
According to Ms. Maualaivao this initiative will help through awareness which is always the first step to solving an issue as big as this.
“We use a variety of ways to gauge impact,” she said. “Part is monitoring social media engagement, and news coverage; the other is through general public awareness of what the campaign is about.
“If you see people wearing orange and thinking they are doing it for Climate Change then it is unsuccessful.
“Campaigns are about raising awareness so that people can openly discuss a topic that may have been taboo or censored; but it is not the solution; it is the means to increase knowledge and understanding.”