Samoa’s NHRI undertakes gender audit
The Office of the Ombudsman in Samoa has undertaken a gender audit to assess the extent to which gender equality is considered across its work.
The Office of the Ombudsman in Samoa has undertaken a comprehensive audit to assess the extent to which gender equality is considered across its work and activities.
With support from the APF, the Office undertook the gender audit over six weeks during March and April 2022. The audit was carried out remotely and involved semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, internal focus groups, a review of key Office documents and online discussions. It was the first gender audit the APF has facilitated for a member institution.
The audit was facilitated by APF Gender Focal Point, Aishath Fasoha, and APF expert gender consultant Dr Jill Chrisp, with an internal gender audit team comprised of key Office staff members: Loukinikini Vili, Director for Human Rights; Tracey Mikaele, Director of Engagement and Communications; and Davina Salanoa, Director of Corporate Services.
The aim of a gender audit is to assess the extent to which gender equality is understood and acted upon in an organisation. It is a collaborative and participatory process which supports the organisation to increase its understanding of gender equality and to strengthen its practices, policies, and work programs in relation to gender.
“It was important for us to do a self-evaluation through the gender audit process to see whether we, as an NHRI, were effectively including gender equality in our work, both our internal operations and external work,” said Ms Vili.
NHRIs play a critical role in promoting gender equality, so it was important for the Office to lead by example
The APF has produced a toolkit, Facilitating an NHRI Gender Audit, which support NHRIs to facilitate a gender audit in their own organisations. The toolkit is accompanied by a series of online courses. Staff of the Ombudsman’s Office had previously completed the courses, and three of their staff are current members of the APF Gender Network.
“The Office has been at the forefront of action to support gender equality in Samoa and undertaking the gender audit signals the strong commitment by the institution to continue strengthening its capacity in this important area of work,” said Ms Fasoha.
“It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the Office staff and stakeholders to engage in the process. Their expertise and experience was extremely valuable in contributing to the success of the audit,” she said.
A detailed report of the audit has now been made available, which includes recommendations by the APF to further strengthen the Office’s capacity to mainstream gender equality across its work and operations.
Ms Vili said that the recommendations helped to identify areas that the Office needs to further strengthen.
“The recommendations were very practical and useful,” she said.
“I would encourage every NHRI, or any organisation working in the human rights space, to do a gender audit. It will help strengthen the work you are already doing,” she said.
Date: 31 May 2022