BY GEORGINA KEKEA
SOLOMON Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) recently launched its strategic plan (2018 -2020) as well as a revolving fund for members who cannot access financial institutions for support.
Speaking during the official ceremony of its programme, SIWIBA CEO (Ag) Jennifer Pascal says the event is a milestone achievement for SIWIBA.
Echoing this sentiment, SIWIBA President Mrs Pamela Zoleveke says this is another boost for the women who continue to support their family through whatever means they can.
She says over the years, SIWIBA has continued to empower women in both formal and informal sectors. She says at first she was skeptical about women getting support from their menfolk but overtime it was proven that the men had continued to support their women in SIWIBA despite what other reports and survey might have said about men being less supportive of their women in economic activities.
Because of this, Zoleveke says she is also thankful to the men for the support they provide for their spouses. She says both women and men need to work together and this sort of partnership should be encouraged.
Also speaking during the launch was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women Youth Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), Dr Cedric Alependava who was impressed with the revolving fund.
“I came in last year to the Ministry and I was not able to support SIWIBA’s mini trade fair which some of the monies from the revolving fund came from. But I was able to support SIWIBA in the awards night held in early December 2017,” Mr Alependava says.
“For that the MWYCFA is proud to be a partner in SIWIBA’s endeavors to provide a revolving fund for its members, especially women in the informal sector.”
The awards night event is an ongoing support from the Solomon Islands government, which has a naming-rights partnership with SIWIBA.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Mrs Gale Au Ramosaea says the banks don’t recognise them.
“SIWIBA recognizes us to which we are forever grateful. The banks don’t recognize us only SIWIBA,” she says.
Speaking to Island Sun, Ramosaea says already she has secured four loans from SIWIBA for her shell money making business.
“I am so happy and proud that the revolving fund will be able to help women like me in the informal sector to get money to assist us in our business,” she said.
The revolving fund comes from monies from the women’s trade fair activities as well as monies from the SIWIBA awards night.
$100,000 is being used as the starting base for the revolving fund.
Present during the launch of SIWIBA’s activities were representatives and staff from the Australian High Commission Office in Honiara as well as the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, George Palua including the CEO of Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) Dennis Meone.
Presented to the members and those present during the event was also a report on the awards night held last year. The report was compiled by Nina Tuhaika and endorsed by Mrs Julie Haro, Chairlady of 2017 SIWIBA Awards committee.