Participating in qualitative evaluation in Samoa

“I feel very happy… I learned a lot… I feel more comfortable and more confident to face people.” Shares Setu Tiatia, a member of Nuanua O le Alofa (NOLA), the national disability advocacy organisation in Samoa, and a key part of Motivation Australia’s (MA)’s project evaluation work in Samoa.

Setu worked alongside Ari Hazelman (NOLA member) and Suria Apulu, Data Officer for the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) (also a NOLA member) to assist in the qualitative evaluation of the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service (SIMDES) project.

Like Setu, the experience has given Suria ‘more confidence to face the clients’, while Ari describes the experience as ‘empowering’. On reflection, the interview team give a long list of personal and professional skills they have gained through their involvement which they plan to use in their everyday life. For Setu, he hopes that the ideas and skills he has learned through his involvement will help him to find work.

Having an interview team that consisted of people with disability had better outcomes than MA had anticipated. Having a certain shared experience with the people the team interviewed was described by Ari as an ‘encouragement’ to the clients. Meanwhile, hearing people’s stories and the impact a mobility device can have has encouraged the team to share this with others in their community to advocate for the work of the mobility device service (MDS) in Samoa: “I can do some awareness, try to expand the good service from the MDS team,” says Setu.

SIMDES is a four year project working with the National Health Service (NHS) in supporting the development of a comprehensive MDS in Samoa. With the project in its final year, MA has been working in partnership with NOLA and the MWCSD to undertake this qualitative evaluation of the project. The evaluation is providing insights into the outcomes of an integrated mobility device service and is highlighting the impact of a mobility device on people’s lives.

Over two phases, the interview team have carried out a total of 50 interviews with people who have either received a wheelchair, walking aid, prosthesis or long term orthotic from Samoa’s National Health Service’s MDS. MA would like to thank all of our partners for their support in making this possible:

  • National Health Service Mobility Device Service (NHS MDS)
  • Nuanua O Le Alofa (NOLA)
  • Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD)

We would particularly like to thank the interview team for their hard work and commitment to the evaluation, and Mataafa Faatino Utumapu from NOLA for her support of the team.

The SIMDES project is part of the larger Samoa Disability Programme (SDP), funded by the Australian Government.