FIRST PHASE OF SAMOA’S MULTIMILLION AIRPORT PROJECT OPENS
Apia, SAMOA — “This upgrade is a milestone in developing tourism between China and Samoa,” said Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. The US31.7 million project built by the Shanghai Construction Company from China to upgrade the departure lounge is the first of three phases to upgrade the Faleolo International Airport.
He commended the commitment of China and noted that phases two and three of the project would be completed next year. “This is a significant event in the history of aviation in Samoa and it’s an achievement in the Government’s 2012-2016 strategic plan,” said Tuilaepa. In October the relationship between China and Samoa grew with the signing of an Air Service Agreement (A.S.A) between the two nations for direct flights between Beijing and Faleolo.
The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’itele Niko Lee Hang and the Ambassador of China to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng at the T.A.T.T.E Building, signed the agreement. This will open the door for any carrier from China and also Singapore. Tuilaepa stated on Wednesday that the vision of the Samoa Airport Authority (SAA) is for Samoa to become the Pacific hub for air travel. The Faleolo Airport project started two years ago when an agreement was signed between Samoa and China, which is funding this multimillion project. The groundbreaking ceremony was held last year July.
YMCA HOLDS FIRST WOMEN’S RISE UP FORUM
Apia, SAMOA —The YWCA of Samoa known as Tamaitai Talavou Kerisiano Samoa held its first Young Women’s RISE UP Forum last week as part of the United Nations 16 days for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The YWCA participants posed for a photo with their arms crossed in front to signify the YWCA motto: “There is no excuse for Violence.”
The YWCA of Samoa strongly advocates for a “National Strategy Against Violence” for Samoa. In a statement issued by YMCA Samoa, the young women participants from rural and urban Samoa were in attendance. Guest Speaker Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo, CEO of the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development, encouraged the young women in their endeavors to serve their communities as young leaders. Fuimapoao related her personal experience of raising her own children and encouraging both sons and daughters equally to follow their dreams and know that opportunities abound for them without restriction.
Juli Dugdale of the World YWCA was in attendance to witness the growth of YWCA since it was revived in 2013. Juli introduced the World YWCA project called “In her Shoes” where young women spoke of their experiences of abuse, using a pair of shoes (to represent the victim of abuse) and a short written story about the abuse suffered.
“This was a very touching and emotional presentation by 5 young women and revealed some of the abuse that young women in Samoa are facing and how they confront these issues or sadly, how some of them are unable to bear the burden and have ended their lives. These stories were not easy for the participants to hear, but it was acknowledged that if young women do not discuss these difficult issues in a safe space, it will be difficult for them to protect themselves and to counsel others including youth and older men, not to commit such abuse, because young women deserve to live free of abuse.”
According to the statement Avah Naomi Woyengu from PNG YWCA who is leading the RISE UP peer educator program within the Pacific region, presented certificates to the first graduating class of 20 Peer Educators. Since the inception of the RISE UP program 3 months ago, the Peer Educators have delivered training to over 120 young women in rural and urban areas.
BUSINESS COMMUNITY MEETS FOR EXPANSION OF SAMOA BUSINESS NETWORK
Apia, SAMOA — More than sixty members of Samoa’s business community got together at Le Manumea Resort last week for the expansion of the Samoa Business Network into Samoa, and it was officially launched by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. SBN was founded in 2012 for Samoan business people in New Zealand to meet, share ideas, collaborate and support one another.
New Zealand Chairperson Laura Keill-Hall said SBN was launching a Samoan branch to provide informal networking opportunities. “When I was a Business Manager at the Bank of New Zealand in Manukau in Auckland, I organized monthly networking events for our customers. This concept of informal professional networking has become really popular overseas, as it gives people a chance to meet outside of the formal environment of meetings and day-to-day business relationships. It allows people to get out of their normal circles, and for young entrepreneurs to meet and get advice from leaders in government and business.”
Samoan branch representative Afamagasa Jackie Curry encouraged everyone at the launch to talk to at least one person they had never met before. “In Samoa we have this sense that we all know each other, but there are many Samoans who spend much of their careers overseas and are successful in business, and who have a desire to give something back to the country. SBN is all about facilitating those links.”
Keil-Hall also stated that back at the Bank of New Zealand, she noticed not many Samoans or Pacific Islanders attended the networking events. “I was part of the organizing committee for the launch of one of Lani Wendt-Young’s books, which was led on by businessman Rasmus Pereira, who started the online shopping website Shopsamoa.com. The event was sponsored by so many Samoan businesses, and I realized they were out there – Samoan entrepreneurs with big ideas – but they weren’t really coming to general networking events. So with Rasmus on board, BNZ hosted the first Business Networking event in Auckland, specifically for Samoan business people and professionals.
“At first we had no intention of creating an organization, but BNZ’s networking events were so popular, we eventually set up the Samoa Business Network as a not-for-profit in April 2013.”
Tuilaepa expressed his support for the vision of the organization and also challenged Samoan businesses to make better use of the internet and technology to grow their businesses, as well as challenging SBN to do the same to expand the Network.