‘Tis the season for giving

This is an article written by the Samoa Observer on the 24 December, 2014:

GLORIOUS FOOD: A young boy is all smiles after getting some food for his family. Photos: Wellington Seufale

GLORIOUS FOOD: A young boy is all smiles after getting some food for his family. Photos: Wellington Seufale

Christmas is not called the season for giving for no reason.

It is after all a time when Christians the world over celebrate how God demonstrated His great love for mankind by giving His son, to be born on this earth, to die on the cross and then rise again to cleanse the sins of the world.

That was the ultimate example of giving, of selflessness and of love.

And it was in that same spirit of giving, spurred on by the celebration of Christ’s birth into this world that is behind the ‘Feed the Hungry’ initiative of the Vaitele Cell Group of the Apia Harvest Centre Church.

Now in its fourth year, Feed the Hungry was born out of a desire to reach out to those in need.

And it is because of this that instead of holding the Feed the Hungry initiative at the church grounds at Togafu’afu’a, as has been the norm since it began in 2011, the organisers have decided to go out into the community.

“We feel that instead of waiting for people for people to come to us, we will go out to the people,” said Saveatama Sinapati Lio, leader of the Vaitele Cell Group.

Falelauniu, being an area of relatively new settlements, was chosen as this year’s outreach venue.

Tents and BBQ stands were set up on the grounds of the Falelauniu Assembly of God Church, where people of all ages queued up early in the morning until early afternoon. About 500 plates of food were given out along with more than 50 bags of clothes, toys and other goodies, not only to those who turned up at the venue, but also to family homes that these were delivered to. “We know how hard it is for people to move into a new area, trying to settle in, and also dealing with issues like water, electricity and general wellbeing. So this is just a small way of helping them out this season and bringing a bit of cheer to their lives,” said Saveatama.

The Vaitele Cell Group is grateful for the assistance of the following companies, organizations and individuals who donated food, money and other materials that made this year’s Feed the Hungry possible: Samoa Stationery And Books, Frankie’s Wholesale & Supermarket, SOS, BOC Gases, Papali’i Niko and Doris Lee Hang, Matafeo George and Taulapapa Brenda Latu, Polynesian Shipping Line, Westpac Bank, Youth With a Mission, OSM Consultants, Gecko and Marina Keil, Ray and Doris Wright, James Curry, Muliaga William and Velda Cafarelli, and Leata Taulapapa.

Helping Hands + the AHC Vaitele Cell Group

HELPING HANDS: Saveatama Sinapati Lio (second from left standing) and members of the Vaitele cell group with helpers on the day.

Partnering for Excellence

This is an article published by the Samoa Observer on 15 March 2014:

It’s official.

Signing the MOU

DONE DEAL: Vui Sebastian Mariner, the Managing Director for O.S.M. Consultants, signs a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) with Andrew Wilson, the General Manager of B.E.C.A. International. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says the agreement signals a new dawn for Samoa. The agreement was signed during a gathering at Hotel Tanoa Tusitala on Thursday night.

Local engineering firm, O.S.M. Consultants Ltd has become the local partner for engineering consultancy giant, B.E.C.A. International Consultants Ltd from New Zealand.

This fol l ows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies at a special ceremony on Thursday evening at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.

The M.O.U., which will be implemented under the banner, “Partnering for Excellence”, signals the beginning of a formalised working relationship between the two companies, whose links date back 10 years.

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, in his keynote address, applauded the move by both companies. He said this could be something that other local companies can emulate as an innovative and forward thinking way of doing business.

OSM Staff at the MOU signing

PARTNERS: The staff of O.S.M Consultants welcome guests to the M.O.U signing.

“We don’t have all the specialized skills and expertise that we need here in Samoa. We will always need to fill those gaps by bringing in specialised people from overseas,” said Tuilaepa.

“These kinds of partnerships also give our local businesses an extra edge to doing business, as each partner brings something of value to the table. One can bring money, the other, expertise.

They draw on each other’s strengths”. He said the key to any partnership working well is for honesty on the part of both partners.

“This partnership is like a marriage, where the success of the marriage depends very much on both parties being honest with each other,” said Tuilaepa. “So happy marriage and be faithful to each other.”

Speaking highly of B.E.C.A., he told guests that the company employs 3000 staff in 18 offices in seven countries in the Asia and Pacific regions. These are indicators “of a strong company” he said.

“This is also great for Samoa as it means that we will have access to the wide range of expertise that a company like B.E.C.A. offers,” said Tuilaepa. B.E.C.A. was set up in 1918 in Auckland, where it still has its headquarters. Its first project in Samoa was done in 1986.

“This company is older than any of us in this room,” the Prime Minister told guests, who were family, friends and colleagues of the two companies, as well as the diplomatic corps and government ministries that O.S.M. and B.E.C.A have worked with.

“That speaks of experience and quality in terms of the standard of the work they do”. General Manager of B.E.C.A. International New Zealand, Andrew Wilson, said the timing is right to formalise B.E.C.A.’s relationship with O.S.M. “The relationship with O.S.M. goes back several years with Sebastian and his team providing support on a number of projects. It is timely that we now formalize our relationship with this M.O.U.,” he said.

“Whilst we may appear to be a big giant from a Samoa perspective, we are joining hands with a respected colleague and partner in O.S.M. Consultants”.

Mr. Wilson said the M.O.U. is an opportunity for O.S.M. to have access to about 3000 engineers within the B.E.C.A. group.

“We have more than 40 discipline groups covering the main engineering disciplines, plus architecture, land use planning, environmental sciences and project management,” he said.

“We have a large number of world recognized specialists in a number of areas such as seismic engineering, and those with expertise in Climate Changes sciences – it’s important for Samoa to have access to this expertise when you need it – it might only be a small bit of a larger project but could be the most critical bit”.

Managing Director of O.S.M. Consultants, Vui Sebastian Mariner, said he welcomed this new step in the B.E.C.A.-O.S.M. relationship, despite the difference in sizes of the two companies.

BECA Staff members and invitees to the OSM-BECA MOU signing.

B.E.C.A staff members (front) and guests including Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai (right).

“The M.O.U. we have formalized today with B.E.C.A. seems very much like running into a large conglomerate brick wall called B.E.C.A.

However, O.S.M. is truly humbled that after many years of working closely together, a window of opportunity now presents itself to formalize our relationship with B.E.C.A., with O.S.M. Consultants becoming their Samoan partner to provide professional consulting services to the Government and people of Samoa,” said Vui.

“With B.E.C.A. onboard, we fulfill today the advice of wise King Solomon when he said that “without counsel, plans go wrong, but in the multitude of counselors, they are established”. We have brought onboard a multitude of counselors to help O.S.M. partner with clients and the Government of Samoa to successfully map out and fulfill a common vision for a better, more sustainable future for Samoa and its people”.

Vui also paid tribute to all the people and organizations that O.S.M. has worked in partnership with over the years which enabled the company to arrive at where it is now. O.S.M. was established in 2002. It has been involved in various areas of infrastructure development in Samoa.