Leiloa Asaasa, Program Manager at Samoa Family Health Association

Leiloa Asaasa

In celebration of International Women’s Month, IPPF ESEAOR is featuring stories of people, especially women, leading the SRHR movement across the region. 

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This is the story of Leiloa Asaasa, the Programme Manager from Samoa Family Health Association. After seeing the issues facing young people in Samoa as a student, Leiloa felt compelled to do something. Read her story below: 

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Since joining Samoa Family Health Association (SFHA) as a volunteer in 2008, Leiloa Asaasa has been passionate about sexual and reproductive health. As a student at the National University of Samoa, Leiloa saw the issues facing young people in Samoa and felt compelled to do something. 

Leiloa’s experiences with SFHA also helped shape her studies and her final year research project examined teenage pregnancy in Samoa and Fiji had strengthened Leiloa’s resolve to work in SRHR. 

In 2017, Leiloa joined SFHA as their Program Manager on a full time basis. 

“When I saw the opportunity to work for SFHA full time, I snatched it as I believe it is where my interest lies and education is my passion. My role as a volunteer in SFHA really pushed me to be a SRHR advocate.”  

When asked what inspires her, Leiloa replied, “Making the right choice – this phrase inspired me to work in the SRHR field. The work that I do doesn’t make choices for [other] people, I educate and they will have to make their own choices. I myself get to make my own choices, not according to what people say but to go with what my heart and mind choose.”

In June, Leiloa will be a panelist at Women Deliver in Canada, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. Leiloa will speak on ‘SHRH at the Margins - Engaging Marginalized Communities in the Mainstream SRHR Movement’, sharing her experiences of localising disaster preparedness and ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights are embedded in disaster preparedness and response.

Leiloa said, “It’s a big achievement for myself, SFHA, the Pacific Region and IPPF as a whole. It is an honour to be called to represent our beloved IPPF Pacific Region in such a huge event. I look forward to it, to show and share [with] them the work we do for our community, our country, our Pacific Region and our contribution to the world’s health sector. Not only in good days but also in time of crisis, we always make sure that no one is left behind. To let the world know that women have a huge contribution to the world’s everything.”