SIWIBA 's Courtesy Visit to Prime Minister
The Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) made a courtesy call to Honourable Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare where they formally introduced theAssociation as well as presenting some ofther immediate goals in the near future.
SIWIBA President, Dalcy Tekulu in formally introducing the Association highlighted their Strategic Program Objectives and some of SIWIBA's achievement since its establishment in 2004. This includes three years funding from DFAT following satisfied outcome to its first funding support from AusAID-funded Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) at the last quarter of 2011. The current funding support that will lapse 2017 covers key areas including programs, activities and Secretariat of the Association.
She said the recent launch of SIWIBA's Business Development Centre (BDC) on 14 April 2015 located at Room 48, NPF Plaza and a well-equipped Secretariat located at Room 38, NPF Plaza administered by five young and vibrant women was made possible through DFAT funding, which ensures all the programs and activities lined up for the next 3 years are achieved.
Mrs. Tekulu also explained reason behind SIWIBA’s popular bi-monthly Mere’s Market. "The Mere's Market is an event that takes place at the Art Gallery grounds every two months. Members always look forward to as it is an avenue not only to earn money but also a time where members can interact and promote their small businesses to the public."
Mrs. Tekulu added that SIWIBA's recently launched website (www.siwiba.com.sb) that is proudly sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Office in Honiara, is a platform for SIWIBA members to promote their products and have an online presence. This will help link the Association to interested and possible business partners beyond the shores of Solomon Islands.
She said that SIWIBA is aware of the difficulties that women are facing to have access to credits in the financial institutions. To ease this, SIWIBA has established a SIWIBA Savings Club where members can save up and have the ease to access credits for business or family needs.
Mrs. Tekulu said a key highlight for this year was the opportunity for SIWIBA to be able to be part of the PNG Digicel Women in Business Expo in July, adding that this gave members the opportunity to showcase and sell products through the delegation that represented the Association.
She acknowledged that while all the highlights are positive signs of growth for SIWIBA, there is the issue of sustainability for SIWIBA after the funding term lapse in 2017.
Mrs. Tekulu said among the many immediate priorities as part of SIWIBA's strategic plan, having a home is a key priority. "One of our big dream is to be able to have a home for SIWIBA and its members. This is through a land that can be directly registered to SIWIBA or an existing building that will house everything for our members under one roof," the SIWIBA President said.
She said to own an existing building is more favourable as it will help accommodate the Secretariat, BDC, office spaces that can be rented by other businesses directly to SIWIBA and an open space where members will be able to display their products through the week instead of waiting for opportunities every two months through the Mere's Market."This home for SIWIBA will be a spot where tourists can get all the souvenirs they need as everything will be available through our members. This will be like a one-stop shop for visitors and the general public."
In response, Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged SIWIBA for the visit and expressed gratitude in being able to understand the mandate of the Association.
He assured the SIWIBA delegation who were present at the meeting that his office is committed to help the Association in securing a home for women in business in Solomon Islands through SIWIBA.
Hon. Sogavare also encouraged SIWIBA to continue working together with the government and other stakeholders to help achieve plans and dreams of the Association. Accompanying members of the SIWIBA delegation that met with the Prime Minister last week Friday are Vice President - Julie Haro, Board Secretary - Pamela Zoleveke, Board member - Ethel Saelea and Coordinator - Nina Tuhaika.