2022 marks the 60th anniversary of Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), Samoa’s independence, as well as the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Samoa.
To honour such significant milestones, last week VSA’s recently appointed Te Tumu Whakarae (CEO) Kate Wareham, and Marketing Communication Manager, Sarah Maxwell, travelled to Samoa and connected with VSA’s Samoa Programme Manager, Lagi Natanielu. During their visit they were fortunate to meet with some of their partners who are working towards sustainable environmental practices and attend an event hosted by the Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro Governor-General of New Zealand and Patron of VSA to acknowledge the work VSA has done in Samoa.
“This was an important trip for me early in my tenure as Te Tumu Whakarae as it gave me a first-hand look at how our programmes work in country.” says Kate.
On Tuesday VSA met with Adi Maimalagi Tafunai, Fuimaono Rosalia Me, Sylvia Sagar from Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI). WIBDI supports over 800 farmers across Samoa, including 400 farmers who produce organic coconut oil. Their field work educates farmers in adapting sustainable organic methods to deliver quality oil which is both environmentally friendly and supplies regular steady income. WIBDI sells the oil to international brands including The Body Shop and Ethique.
The following day, they meet with Marina Keil President of the Samoa Recycling Waste Management Association (SWRMA) and learned about their strategy to remove e-waste, plastics, and oil waste to reduce the harmful effects rubbish has on soil and water quality.
Over the past 60 years VSA has been on a mission to achieve a world with thriving communities, and it is this very vision that has eventuated to 60 years of empowering communities, forming strong alliances, and securing better outcomes for future generations. Our mark on international development in Samoa, across the Pacific, and beyond was acknowledged at an event on Wednesday 7 September 2022 hosted by The Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro at New Zealand High Commissioners Residence in Apia.
In attendance was VSA partners, staff, MFAT and invited guests. Both the Governor General of New Zealand and Kate spoke about the rich history VSA holds with Samoa and the optimism this partnership sets for the future of education, health and wellbeing and the economy.
Kate says the event was one of the highlights of her visit to Samoa, “It reinforced the positive impact our volunteers have had for partner organisations across all sectors there and the high regard within which VSA is held.”