Mobilizing women's leadership and solutions in response to the measles epidemic in Samoa

The Shifting the Power Coalition Emergency Grant mechanism has also provided a much-needed avenue for coalition members to quickly mobilise humanitarian funding in times of crisis. Small grants of up to AUD $5,000 are available for members to organise at the community, local and national level to enable them to take the lead in ensuring that the needs and interests of women and girls area addressed in long-term response and recovery efforts


The emergency grant mechanism was used to strengthen women’s leadership in the responses to the measles epidemic in Samoa. The Coalition tracked the measles epidemic in collaboration with the YWCA of Samoa and Le Teine Crisis Centre, monitoring the response and support for the Samoan Government from UN agencies and other governments.

The Coalition identified gaps in information that were critical in ensuring a comprehensive response. Specifically, they noted the lack of gender analysis on the impact of the epidemic, including how it was increasing the burden of women’s unpaid care, particularly for young women and single mothers, as well as the effects on people with disabilities and LGBTIQ community.

The Coalition also recognised the critical need for strong protection messages to support women in their communities. To achieve this, they undertook research that drew lessons from the crisis on how best to communicate to young women, as well as pregnant women and young mothers – an important target group – about the importance of vaccinating babies and children in preventing further outbreaks of the disease. This work is important in ensuring that long-term responses to the crisis are gender-responsive and effective in reaching critical target groups.

Read the report here.