Globally minded, yet rooted in her community, visionary entrepreneur Adimaimalaga (Adi) Tafuna’i works to build sustainable economic opportunities for women and families in Samoa and throughout the Pacific, in a way that is good for people, prosperity and the planet.
In 1991, Adi and her friends established an organization called Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI) to encourage Samoan women in business. After natural disasters proved devastating to rural communities, Adi and her colleagues shifted their focus to village-based economic development. Adi was determined to enable rural vulnerable families to earn an income where they live in order to educate, feed and care for their family members. Whereas outside experts had proposed microfinance, Adi’s vision was larger—she wanted to leverage local resources to connect Samoan women and their families to global markets.
Today, health and beauty items sold in nearly 50 countries use coconut oil produced by Samoan families. And as the market for Samoan organically certified exports such as coconut oil, fetau oil, noni juice, bananas, woven mats and tapa cloth grows, Adi is working to bring other Pacific countries in as suppliers, expanding regional economic growth.
Recent support from the Government of Samoa and overseas donors has enabled WIBDI to build an organic production facility to cater for the growing organic export market. The Samoan experience is being shared in other Pacific Islands to grow the connections around the Pacific region and facilitate the dream of sharing global markets.