New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday had a chance to hear from students of the National University of Samoa on issues that matter to them.
She was accompanied by some of her Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament including Vaovasa Winston Peters, James Shaw, Carmel Sepuloni, Aupito William Sio, Fletcher Tabuteau, and National MP's Gerry Brownlee and Alfred Ngaro.
About 300 students gathered at the N.U.S. Fale to welcome the Prime Minister and her entourage in a traditional ava ceremony, followed by a short questions and answers session.
With time constraints and a busy one-day trip schedule for the high-level N.Z. delegation, students could only ask a few questions surrounding climate change and information technology.
“My question is in two folds. In terms of I.C.T, we face two challenges, first are the lack of I.C.T. facilities to cater for our young people and second are the lack of young women and girls who engage themselves in I.C.T."
“In Samoa we only have one I.C.T.-based facility that is free and youth-oriented, which is funded by NZAid."
“My questions are: Can such avenue be expanded to cater for more young people? How can you assist us in creating more I.C.T. awareness? And how would you encourage or ensure more women involve themselves in the I.C.T. sector,” a student asked the Prime Minister.
In response, Ms. Ardern said New Zealand also faces the same problem of lack of women in I.C.T. sector and this was an area that needs improvement for both countries and there was room for dialogue on this matter.
She added focusing on education is vital to enhance women’s involvement in I.C.T, especially young people and in this visit; she looked forward to hearing from the young people on issues that mattered to them and to encourage the involvement of women in business.
On climate change, two students echoed sentiments on Samoa’s vulnerability to climate change impacts and New Zealand’s role in helping minimize the climate change impact.
“Climate Change is more relevant to your generation because of its impact. We are here to make sure we address climate change now. What we do together matters,” Ms. Ardern responded.
“Every time I have a chance to speak in a high level platform or in another country, recently being Vietnam, I talk about climate change every time. My role is to carry your voices as well. I am there to amplify the voice of the Pacific, our voices. So we will do our part because your generation matters to us.”