Samoa.154.ONZ.Credit-Jane Ussher

Palm-fringed beaches and turquoise seas may lend the impression of an island paradise, but many of Samoa’s rural communities live below the poverty line. More than 25 per cent of the population live in “basic need” poverty, meaning they are unable to consistently afford the essentials, such as food, fuel and medicines.

Remote rural communities suffer a lack of economic opportunities and struggle to earn a living. Increasing numbers of people, especially youth, leave their village homes for Apia in search of jobs. This results in urban social problems like low-quality housing, poor nutrition, and greater pressure on services like water and power. Rural to urban migration is weakening the diminishing agricultural industry in rural areas. In addition, worsening natural disasters, especially cyclones, have a devastating impact on the country and its economy.

Fa’a Samoa, the traditional Samoan way, remains a strong force in Samoan life. Oxfam believes a successful model of development must take into account Samoan values, culture and tradition. No one knows better what a community needs than the people who belong to it and Oxfam’s partner understands the local context and communities.

Oxfam in Samoa

Oxfam has partnered with Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) since 2001. Together we develop income generating opportunities for rural people.

Livelihoods: Oxfam is helping rural people use simple technology to transform coconuts into high value, export-ready coconut oil, which earns farmers an increased and sustainable income. We also support small-scale farmers growing organically-certified Misiluki bananas for export to New Zealand and are helping WIBDI to revitalise the Samoan craft of weaving pandanus mats, enabling people to earn an income by selling a premium-value product.