Published on 11th June 2014
VSA’s volunteers in Samoa met with Prime Minister John Key on his official visit to the country last week.
VSA has a long history in Samoa, first sending volunteers in 1963. Around 250 volunteers have worked there since then, and there are 13 volunteers there now, most of whom were able to discuss their work with the Prime Minister.
Glenn Cant, volunteering as Horticulture and Marketing Adviser for the Poutasi Development Trust (PDT), says “the visit went really well”. After an ‘Ava ceremony to welcome Mr Key, who is an honorary chief of Poutasi Village, Glenn and the rest of the PDT team spent some time showing the delegation around the project.
The PDT is funded by the Tindall Foundation, and its central project is a market garden that supplies high-end salad greens and herbs to restaurants and supermarkets. In Glenn’s time, the garden has grown significantly, and now employs five full-time staff and a number of casuals. Glenn says that plenty of locals have also started their own gardens, and every month “many thousands of tala are returned to the village in wages and produce sales”.
The income has allowed the village to fund a preschool, including healthy meals for its students.
The delegation was spent some time in the gardens, and Glenn was able to show the Prime Minister what VSA, working with the Tindall Foundation and the Village of Poutasi, has achieved.
VSA CEO Gill Greer says she’s pleased the Prime Minister was able to see the PDT’s work, as it’s a clear example of what good partnerships can bring to international development. Gill notes that the zero draft of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals , released last week, includes a strong call for partnerships, which “reinforces VSA's core belief in partnership as fundamental to people-centred development and a better world.
“The Poutasi Development Trust, as a partnership between the local village, the Tindall Foundation and VSA is a model for a world in which governments can no longer do development alone.”