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Women in Business is a non-government organisation that has been operating since 1991. We are relatively small but have proven that through long-term commitment, innovation and robust business practices that we are able to forge relationships with multi-national companies, revive national pastimes and create opportunities in rural Samoa without taking people away from the land.
The context of Samoan culture and tradition has shaped the development of our programmes. It is because of the strong family culture in Samoa that WIBDI focusses its programmes on individual families and not whole village communities or individuals alone. Extended families in Samoa comprise a community in themselves, with families having anything from a few members to 100 or more people. By working with families we have one head of the family to contend with, rather than many village elders as leaders in a communally based project. We also found that when a family was earning cash for themselves they tended to take more responsibility for the project, stick to it longer and put more money back into it.
Because it is so much a part of the Samoan way of life to contribute to their community through the likes of church and school donations, work done strengthening individual families has an automatic flow on effect to the wider community, as well as to the particular woman or youth that may be the focal point of our work.