High tech for Samoa’s youth

By Samoa Observer 07 March 2016, 12:00AM

Last week, amidst the build up to the Elections, there was a small, but vital High Tech Youth Network Project Signing and Launch Ceremony at the Samoa College compound. This project addresses the problems around Samoa’s early school leavers and general high youth unemployment figures through a programme of innovative learning techniques using state of the art I.T. equipment. The four-year project will target over 5,000 youth and refurbishment of the former Samoa College Hostel for this purpose will commence this month.  


Edited speech by

Mike Usmar

Director:  H.T.Y.N.


Thank you for this opportunity to be here to today to sign the formal partnership agreement between High Tech Youth Network and the Government of Samoa.

Activity’s Origin: This project has its origin in interests displayed by successive Ministers of Education, Sports and Culture and their desire for a facility similar to our studio both in Otara Manukau City and other parts of the Pacific.

The Government invited us to attend the S.I. D.S. conference in 2014, where a United Nations multi-stakeholder partnership was signed between ourselves and the Government of Samoa. We are grateful to Honourable Magele, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture for his strong support and leadership to this project.  And of course we are extremely grateful for the  New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in putting their support and belief in the future generations of young Samoan’s who will benefit from this project over the next four years

New Zealand Government focus:

The Activity aligns to the NZ’s Government’s new focus on expanding information and communication technology, connectivity, access and use in the Pacific. Just last weekend our Studio in Fiji acted as a base for people in the village of Lami, post the devastating cyclone that hit Fiji, they were able to connect with their families across the Pacific, and to simply say “I am OK” using new Facebook technologies, it was our children showing their parents, aunties, grandparents how to operate the technology and reconnect to their loved ones, that brings together the power of community, family and technology - something that sits at the heart of High Tech Youth 

Support to the Government of Samoa: Our partnership with the Government of Samoa seeks to address high levels of youth unemployment.  Through this project we will be supporting the Government of Samoa to grow its digital economy by investing in building the information communication and technology skills and talent for over 5,000 young Samoans aged 8-25 (both in and out of school).

Focus on Youth

It leverages off young people as early adopters of technology, a great example of this was just yesterday, as I sat on the porch of the house of our new In Country Manager for this project, Moananu Tyrone Laurenson, as we watched a young teenage boy dressed in Sunday best, with a bible in one hand and a cell phone in the other! – MAKE no mistake; like this young boy, Samoa can take on the world with God and technology on your side!

Youth will have access to a new state-of-the-art High Tech Youth Studio (and smaller village studios across Samoa) which includes Robotics, Animation, 3D Printing and Film making while providing new opportunities to establish careers, higher learning or cyber social-enterprising opportunities our TECH Shed programme.

We will be introducing modern and best practice learning methods that are culturally authentic and proven to deliver in underserved communities in New Zealand, Hawaii and Fiji.

This will mean that young Samoans will be able to connect to the I.C.T. sector all around the world, and not have to leave their villages; our hope is this will economically transform village life, and the broadband economy right here in the South Pacific – or in other words instead of the world thinking about Silicon Valley, they will see and hear about Silicon Island – SAMOA!  

Again I would like to thank the Honourable Prime Minister and the Government of Samoa for its strong support, and also to the Government of New Zealand for this Activity – without which, this would not have been possible.


By Samoa Observer 07 March 2016, 12:00AM

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