Small grants to achieve big results

Project Name: Supporting Samoa’s Children Initiative: Children who are Vending
Project Partner: Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development
Total Funding: $175,000
Funding timeframe: 2016-2017

Noticing a high number of children street vendors, the Pacific Women-funded Samoan Women Shaping Development program (SWSPD) investigated. They discovered the underlying causes leading to children vending were poverty, unemployment of parents, and a lack of income to support large families. SWSDP responded with a project that is helping six families to increase incomes and return children vendors to school.

Small business owner and start-up grant recipient, Mrs Salome Suliveta. Photo Credit: Samoa Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.

Ms Salome Suliveta is the mother of 14 children. Through her engagement with the SWSDP project, she received basic entrepreneurial and business management training and was supported to develop a business plan. Then, with a start-up grant, she opened an elei fabric printing business. This has grown and she is now also running a small canteen from her home.

‘I have always been a hard worker and an independent woman,’ says Ms Suliveta. ‘My only issue was that I did not have the means to show this, as I am a stay at home mum with no qualifications or employment experience. It was a constant struggle to make ends meet due to the lack of finance.’

The terms of the grant were agreed between Ms Sulivata and SWSDP in a memorandum of understanding. Tools and resources that Ms Suliveta had identified in her business plan as necessary to start her enterprise were funded through the first disbursement. The final disbursement is subject to Ms Suliveta fulfilling the requirements in the memorandum of understanding.

‘The most important lesson I’ve learnt from this program,’ says Ms Suliveta, ‘is the importance of saving, having a savings account, and budgeting well. This program has really emphasised on these financial aspects, and as well as the importance of separating the business from my personal and everyday needs and family obligations.’

As a result of support provided to these six families, 22 children have now returned to school. This includes some who had dropped out as young as eight to help earn income for their families.

‘This program has encouraged and pushed me to do better for myself as a woman and mother. It has given me a sense of pride and satisfaction because my hard work has paid off and I am able to provide for my children and family. I am grateful to this program because it has given me the chance to do something more than just selling basic goods, which is what my children and I have done in the past.’

*This Story of Change was originally published in the Pacific Women Annual Progress Report 2016 – 2017. All values are consistent with that reporting period. For the most up-to-date value of activities, visit our interactive map.