transforming lives : creating opportunities

The Lafaele Family
what we believe:

  • We believe a Samoan model of development must take into account Samoan values, tradition & culture.
  • We believe sustainable change occurs slowly & requires a long-term commitment.
  • We believe the most vulnerable people in Samoa need to develop sources of income to increase self-reliance & independence.
  • We believe Samoan development requires networking with communities, government & other organisations in Samoa, the Pacific & internationally.

If you believe this too - become a partner, a sponsor, a supporter 

what we do:

Women in Business Development Inc is dedicated to strengthening village economies in Samoa in ways that honour indigenous tradition, use traditional and modern technology, and promote fair trade. We empower and equip rural families to cultivate sustainable businesses that maximize farm-based resources. We also facilitate trade with global and regional partners, including The Body Shop, All Good Organics and C1Espresso, which understand the potential as well as the limitations of small-scale farming in Samoa. The organization works in 183 Samoan villages and nurtures certified organic agricultural enterprises that annually puts more than SAT$600,000 into the hands of rural families. These families then have a chance to participate in a cash economy. For many, this means being able to send children to school, to pay utility bills and, importantly, to have control over their lives instead of relying on remittances. On a national scale, our farmers and artisans are using their skills, experience and time to uplift themselves and their communities. Through their collective industry, they are contributing to Samoa's success as a nation.

Women in Business launch ‪#‎1pt5peace‬ climate change campaign

Executive Director
Women in Business Development Inc

'Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, to promote 1.5degree limit of carbon emissions so that low-lying island states can survive.'1.5. That’s the magic number that the Pacific island countries needs to stay above water. What does it mean? 1.5 degrees is the carbon emissions limit that small island states are promoting as the only real target that will save island peoples from the effects of climate change.

While the world leaders are negotiating a climate change agreement in Paris at the COP21 meeting, islands are already feeling the blunt force of rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and harsher and more frequent extreme weather events.

The Alliance of Small Island States, consisting of 44 low-lying countries, is calling for a 1.5 degree limit. As one Pacific reporter said: the leaders of these countries are not negotiating text, they are negotiating for their survival. It's not panic talk. Most of the Marshall Islands will disappear, Tuvalu islands will go under, and Kiribati will be no more.

Watching the Paris negotiations play out has seen little of the target of 1.5 degrees. Anything higher than 1.5 will see island nations, island peoples displaced, disconnected from their ancestral lands. When that happens, we can expect to see loss of language, loss of cultural knowledge, loss of indigenous ways of knowing and living. These are just the impacts for humans, but it is much more damaging for ocean and island biodiversity.

Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, in 2005, wrote that there are four key harmonies that hold the balance of peace for Samoans.

“These are: harmony with the cosmos; harmony with the environment; harmony with one’s fellow men; and harmony with one’s self. When all four harmonies come together there is peace.”

This is what our social media and advocacy campaign is based upon. 1.5 for peace (#1pt5peace) is an attempt to get political and business leaders to think with their hearts. Be motivated by peace.

'Women in Business Development Inc associate director Alberta Vitale and executive director Adimaimalaga Tafunai promoting their 1.5 for peace social media campaign #1pt5peace.'We ask the world’s leaders to adopt the limit of 1.5 degrees of carbon emissions. We also ask that all who agree with us to join our campaign. Take your photo with our hastag #1pt5peace and make the peace sign, then post it, Tweet it, share it and help bring peace for the earth.

This year Tui Atua expanded upon these harmonies, saying that when these harmonies are disturbed, indigenous Samoans are reminded by tapu-a-fanua or custodians, which mainly take animal forms, to restore the balance.

So we ask on their behalf because although they do not have a human language, they are not without a voice. We ask for not just peace on earth, as is often said, but peace for the earth.

Developed nations are promoting 2 degrees as a “realistic” target. Their aim is to try and reduce carbon emissions while still having economic growth. And therein lies the problem – economic-centred decision-making processes to try and fix a systemic environmental problem caused by human activities.

'Women in Business Development Inc staff get behind 1.5 for peace to raise awareness during the global climate change negotiations, COP21, in Paris.'
'Women in Business Development president Sheree Stehlin promoting 1.5 for peace.'

The focus on the growing economies in the next decade is foreshadowing the greater problem of how we, as humans, can nurture the earth we live upon for future generations of all life forms – human, animal, marine and plant. In the last 50 years, the world’s major economic powers have created such imbalance on earth that the earth is exhausted.

At Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI), we are deeply concerned about the COP21 negotiations just as we are concerned about how Samoa, and all our island neighbours, can counter the effects of climate change. Equally we are concerned at how our human rights are being impinged by climate change.

Samoa has been listed as among the top10 most vulnerable countries in the Pacific region by the International Panel on Climate Change, with more than 20% of the population exposed to climate change risks and a projected loss of 19% of GDP.

With the predicted increase in frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, women, children and elderly are even more at risk. It is well documented that these groups suffer more during these events.

Our view is that unless, there is consensus to curb climate change in a tangible and meaningful way, vulnerable Samoan and Pacific Island communities will suffer most – not only as the most affected but also as the least responsible and least able to change the current status quo.

WIBDI is committed to advocating for families who have the right to live on and farm their ancestral lands and this right is being impinged upon by the world’s most powerful nations’ need to develop at a rate that the earth cannot sustain. #1pt5peace

Fa'afetai lava. Thank you

Tafunai honoured with second global award

Women in Business Development’s Adimaimalaga Tafunai has been honoured with a second global award – this time a DVF Award that was presented at the United Nations in New York. The DVF Awards were created in 2010 by Diane von Furstenberg and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to honor and support extraordinary women.

The star-studded ceremony on 23 April matched awardees with powerful presenters that included presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, actresses Dakota Fanning and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and supermodel Naomi Campbell, who presented the award to Tafuna'i.

The New York Times covered the event, reporting that Diane von Furstenberg said that the fight for women’s equality around the world is far from over.

“The situation for women in the world is not what it should be. And we are regressing,” she said, citing violence against women and human trafficking as pressing concerns. “Let us remember, if we have a voice, it is our obligation and privilege to use that voice for those who have none.”

Tafuna’i, one of two international awardees working within the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network, says she was honoured and encouraged by the faith shown in her work for the people of Samoa and the Pacific Islands.

Tafuna’i has led Women in Business Development for more than 20 years. Her first global award was for economic empowerment from Vital Voices Global Partnership in 2012. In December last year, she was also made a Member of the Order of Samoa.

Tafuna’i was recognized for her work building sustainable economies in Samoa and other Pacific island nations, where families are often split apart when adults leave to find work elsewhere. “We are so isolated from markets,” she said, so she has helped Samoa develop small markets of its own by educating women and helping keep them in their communities.

She has also been instrumental in promoting organic agriculture and ethical trade in the Pacific. “It’s important that we make trade fair and that we make sure that the benefits of any trade goes back to the people.”

Through Tafuna’i’s work, Samoan organic virgin coconut oil is now an export in high demand, and a key ingredient in more than 30 products distributed by The Body Shop. Women in Business Development has had a long partnership with NZ Aid and Oxfam NZ in implementing its programmes in Samoa.

The Lifetime Leadership Award was presented to Ambassador Melanne Verveer, who was appointed the United States’ first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department in 2009. Verveer directs Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. “If we just look at women as victims, no matter what they endure, we will never see them for the leaders that they are,” said Verveer.

The second International Award went to filmmaker and activist Samar Minallah Khan, who has spent her life documenting cultural forms of violence against women in Pakistani communities, from honor killings to the use of dowries in marriages. The Inspiration Award went to Gabrielle Giffords, who has dedicated her life to fighting gun violence after being shot in 2011 while serving as a U.S. Representative from Arizona. The People’s Choice Awards went to co-founder and CEO of The Adventure Project Becky Straw and activist Jody Landers.

Women in Business Development Inc --- 2nd Floor, Nia Mall, Fugalei, Apia, SAMOA --- PO Box 6591 Apia,  SAMOA
Ph +685 21959 ---


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