Written by: Karallyn Fitisone
The Rural Grant Project seeks to investigate and understand the fa’afafine experiences of
violence. This can further be broken down into examining their help-seeking behaviors, types of
violence they’re experiencing, feelings towards service providers, etc. Data was collected on the
fa’afafine experience over the span of several months in 2022 and 2021. This was made possible
through collaboration and partnership between the Alliance and the Society of Fa’afafines in
American Samoa (SOFIAS). In late 2022 the second phase of the project began, in which service
providers would be recruited to participate in the study. These service providers were recruited
from various sectors including various private, non-profit, or government entities.
Please note that this writing is based on personal understanding and experiences, which
means the writing will contain estimates, opinions, and assumptions that are my own, and to my
understanding. Over the course of 3 months, over 50+ service providers have been contacted,
over 50% of those service providers became aware of the project, over 20 have participated in
the survey and 16 have participated in the interview portion of the project. I was able to engage
and connect with many of our service providers about the project which in itself I view as a
success, because this project was made aware to a larger audience through discussions and
emails. I definitely am very appreciative of all the time that our service providers have invested
in the project. I see the hard work they do in their respective fields and the passion that they have
to better our community. I definitely do see that the service providers are willing to undertake
any training we put out in regard to our fa’afafine population and serving any of them who are
victims of violence. I can see that growth is taking place within our community, as we begin to
accept, adapt, accommodate, tolerate, and include newer ideas and perspectives into our lives. I
have been privileged to be a part of the process that seeks to enhance and increase the quality of
service provision to fa’afafine victims of violence. I look forward to the remainder of the project
and to what develops from our findings.
I have experienced some challenges primarily in recruitment. I understand there are
factors that may have influenced participation in our surveys and interviews. Communication
was a challenge in that some of the contact information was outdated for some service providers
and or organizations. Other issues include a lack of response. This can be due to a variety of
reasons, but in general because of the delayed or lack of responses, this has led to cancellations
or to not followed through interviews with service providers. I also understand that our service
providers are busy and may not have the time to participate in the project. I also recognize that
the administration of the survey was during the time of year that consists of major holidays and
or break for some of our service providers. These factors definitely have made it harder to
achieve our intended goal number of participants, but nonetheless we have achieved a larger
goal, which was to spread awareness of the project. Even with these challenges, we are confident
in the information we have gathered and the positive responses and feedback from our
community and service providers about the work of our rural team.
I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to work on this project with such a great
team! I am so glad with all the networking I have been able to accomplish and to learn about the
work that our service providers are doing for victims of violence. It is refreshing to know that
they are willing to participate in training if it becomes available to them. I also think this project
has allowed me to reflect on the ways that I can be more of an advocate, or an ally for fa’afafine.
I can also reflect on the ways I can nurture diversity and promote inclusivity. I believe this
project is an excellent start for examining and investigating our marginalized communities in
American Samoa, as it pertains to violence.
Coming Soon: Our team is so excited to be creating a space on the Alliance website for the Rural
Project! On this separate page, we plan to have our PSAs posted, links to our podcast episodes,
articles/newsletter additions, gallery, and more! We hope that this page helps to serve as a place
where community members, alliance followers, and those interested, can learn more about the
Rural grant project, the work that we do, and the things we are passionate about!
Reminder: Please follow along to any of the alliance social media pages and or check in to the
alliance website and newsletter for updates and rural project progress! Check out our podcast on
spotify “Falalalaga Podcast” updated twice monthly. Feel free to contact the Alliance with any
questions, suggestions, or concerns you might have in regard to this project.
Photo: retrieved from Society of Fa'afafine in American Samoa (SOFIAS) facebookpage: https://www.facebook.com/168150006613160/photos/pb.100070244640816.-2207520000./4629225017172281/?type=3