Walking Samoans is an ambitious attempt to make Samoans take responsibility for their own health. ‘Walking Samoans’ is an addition to a portfolio of health programmes provided by Radio Samoa over the years to inform listeners about health. Walking Samoans will promote the easiest, cheapest and most convenient way for the average Samoan family to exercise regularly. If you can walk, you can exercise. Radio Samoa as sponsor will encourage its listeners to sign up to a Community Neighbourhood Walking Samoan Club where members can support and encourage each other to adopt walking as a regular way to maintain good health and to off-set the on-set of high blood pressure, obesity and heart diseases.

For those who are already suffering from these conditions, walking will be a good way to continue to exercise as long as their doctors approve. Radio Samoa acknowledges that our Samoan/Pacific health statistics will not change for the better unless our own community accept more responsibility for their health. No amount of money from government will make people healthy if they are not prepared to step up and help themselves. Walking and exercise is the cheapest and most effective “pill” you can offer to prevent families from joining the wrong end of the health statistics. When done regularly and as part of our daily routine, exercise will prevent cardiovascular diseases.

It will also help those with CVD to regain their good health. As a community focused Radio Station; Radio Samoa, has a responsibility to help engage our listeners not only to understand but to take ownership and action for their own physical health and wellbeing. We will be seeking Samoan community champions to promote and drive this initiative and we have approached prominent Samoans in the health sector to help us push this initiative along.

We have been happy with the response to date. Our target is to build a membership of 1000 Walking Samoan members by the end of 12 months. With everybody’s help, we can make this an achievable health target for our community. We acknowledge the assistance we have had from Pacific Heartbeat and Tala Pasifika at the Heart Foundation in setting up our initiative. We also acknowledge the years of collaboration we have had with some of our key health providers in Auckland. We can’t afford fancy launches and expensive public relations but we are prepared to put what little we have, to make this into a long-term project. Public health initiatives are not short-term flash in the pan once-over-lightly.

They will have to be sustained over a long period of time or there will be no benefits. Which is why Walking Samoans is a family oriented initiative – we believe that we can make walking a ‘must do’ for mums, dads and family members.