Bluewave Wireless
Project Title Samoa District Connectivity Project
Amount Awarded USD 150,000
Report submission date 2024-03-11
Economies where project was implemented Samoa
Project leader name
Lenora Leota

Project Summary

Bluewave deployed satellite infrastructure to 51 district sites in Samoa, that had little to no reliable connectivity and/ or redundancy for disaster preparedness. Priority was given to unserved or underserved village communities within each district. See more information under "Project Implementation Narrative" on how we assessed which locations were prioritized.  

These district sites provided reliable connectivity access for the members of the community, as well as providing a connected site where key social, economic and education initiatives can now be delivered for the district.

Key Project objectives:

  • Provided and improved reliable Internet connectivity service to unserved and underserved communities in Samoa via District office sites.  
  • Increased Internet speeds for District office sites in specific areas who previously had slow Internet connection.
  • Provided connectivity to District office sites in 51 districts across Samoa, which provided a central place for district communities to deliver social and economic projects through the $1 million District Development Projects funded by the Government of Samoa.  
  • Improved disaster preparedness for Internet networks operations through the District offices, which ensured the majority of districts in Samoa have access to reliable Internet connectivity and redundancy at a central location within the district during a natural disaster and/ or health epidemic (such as Measles & COVID-19). Reduced maintenance and operational costs of the district office networks.  
  • Improved security by providing appropriate firewalls for district offices.  

Description of main activities completed during reporting period

  • District site identification - Identification of 51 district office sites based on Internet connectivity tests and key strategic locations for the District activities. This included a technical site survey to assist with successful deployment of the VSAT equipment.  
  • District Committee Engagement - Engagement of District Committees registered with Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development to ensure the community supported the project.
  • Community Engagement - carried out community/ village level engagement to promote the benefits of the project i.e. more reliable internet connectivity for community members and households, as well as connectivity for Community projects.
  • Network Deployment - Deployment of 51 satellite networks to pre-identified sites. Site configuration & activation with provider.  

Table of Contents

Background and Justification

BlueWave Wireless (formerly NetVo Samoa) was founded in 2015 and launched to market in 2016. Bluewave was able to bring fast, reliable and affordable 4G/LTE Internet connectivity to the people of Samoa and make a significant impact of the market offering and pricing for data in Samoa. It significantly reduced the market pricing for data in Samoa at that time, and improved speeds to a level where video calling and streaming online was possible in Samoa for the first time for everyday consumers.  Bluewave’s focus has been on the provision of Internet services to individuals, households, businesses and government organizations in the Apia urban town area.  

At the time of submitting the ISIF Asia funding proposal, our company was in the implementation of its second phase – expanding its network reach to rural areas in Samoa. Bluewave deployed a satellite network to the underserved rural & remote areas of Samoa through the implementation of the School WIFI project - funded by the Government of Samoa.  Bluewave’s intention was to expand from an Internet Service Provider in Apia area to provide WiFi services across Samoa to our rural community members.  

A banner of the project outside a building in Samoa
A banner of the project outside a building in Samoa

BlueWave Wireless engaged a provider to provide a Satellite WiFi network solution which who were able to deliver high speed connectivity in under-served rural & remote areas of Samoa.  In 2021, Bluewave Wireless carried out speed tests around the Samoa Islands. Our tests found that 48% of Samoa only had 2G or 3G coverage and internet speeds. 65% of the rural areas of Samoa and 72% of the larger island of Savaii, only had 2G or 3G coverage and internet speeds. This study provided the evidence that there was a clear gap in the digital divide in Samoa which needs to be addressed.

Problem Statement

Bluewave Wireless identified there was a huge need to address the digital divide in rural communities in Samoa and provide internet access to unserved and underserved communities.  

The lack of reliable Internet access in rural areas in Samoa was a barrier for communities as they were not able to fully participate in activities such as digital education, e-commerce and other online digital activities which could enhance their livelihoods.

Project Motivation

Bluewave Wireless and its partners had a shared vision and values to bring fast, high-quality Internet access to rural & remote areas of Samoa and the Pacific region. This partnership aimed to bridge the digital divide for rural village communities of Samoa by improving access to online resources & support the development of digital skills within these communities. 

The goal of Bluewave Wireless was to enable and empower Samoan people through connectivity, so they were able to take advantage of online opportunities such as digital education, e-commerce for small business and digital skills for employment. Access to internet connectivity and digital skills provided opportunities for people in these rural communities, which are not currently available to them. The district offices and sites have now provided reliable connectivity access for the members of the community, as well as providing a connected site where key social, economic and education initiatives/ projects can be delivered for the benefit of the community members.

Project participants
Project participants

Project Implementation Narrative

Project Objectives - how we used the objectives to solve the problem

  • Improved reliable internet connectivity service to unserved and underserved communities in Samoa through the District site offices.
  • Increased Internet speeds available in District offices in specific areas who had slow internet connection. 
  • Provided more reliable connectivity to District sites in 51 districts across Samoa.  These sites provided a central place for district communities to deliver social and economic projects.
  • Disaster preparedness for Internet networks operations - ensured the majority of districts in Samoa had access to reliable internet connectivity and redundancy they can use during a natural disaster and/ or health epidemic (such as Measles & COVID-19) through the District office sites.  
  • Reduced maintenance and operational costs of the networks across these District sites.
  • Improved security by providing appropriate firewalls for District sites.  
  • Capacity Building in Digital Fluency (Literacy) and the use of digital technologies for executive officers and staff of the 51 District Community Centres, the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development staff and wider members of the District communities.  

The Story of the Project - what has the project done for Samoa?

This impact grant has enabled the deployment of satellite infrastructure to District office sites across Samoa, (mainly rural and village-based communities), who had little to no reliable connectivity.  These unserved and underserved rural communities also require redundancy for disaster preparedness.

The satellite sites deployed have increased Internet availability and provided reliable connectivity access, through District office sites where key social, economic and education initiatives are being delivered for community members.  This aligns with and supports the Government of Samoa’s $1 Million Dollar District Community projects.

A picture taken at one of the workshops.
A picture taken at one of the workshops.

Project Activities completed:

  • District site identification - Identified 51 District Office sites based on internet connectivity tests and key strategic locations for the District activities. This included a technical site survey to assist with successful deployment of the network equipment.  
  • District Committee Engagement - Engagement of District Committees registered with Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development to ensure the community supported the project.
  • Engagement of community at the village level to promote the benefits of the project i.e. access to more reliable internet connectivity for community members through the District office sites.  
  • Deployment of 51 networks to pre-identified sites. Site configuration & activation with provider.  Over 150 staff at the District offices around Samoa now have access to more reliable internet connection through the networks set up by Bluewave Wireless through this ISIF project.  
  • Delivered Digital literacy/ fluency training for District office sites to over 400 district committee executives, staff, community members and youth - with a focus on female/ gender engagement. Over 50% of participants were women.  
  • We also delivered the Digital Literacy training Workshop to staff members of Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development. Over 30 staff members participated in this 2 day Digital Literacy Workshop.  
  • Timing for delivery of Digital Literacy training workshops - each Workshop was delivered over two full days.  This was sufficient time to build foundational skills for individuals who participated in the Training.  For 80-90% of participants, their prior knowledge of digital literacy and skills was very low.  So we focused on teaching them basic skills, and by the end of the training they had enough knowledge and skills to start using devices, use digital technologies and also safeguard sensitive information/ data in the workplace.  They will need additional help/ support and further Digital Literacy Training and further upskilling in future once they become proficient in these basic digital literacy skills in the workplace.  
  • We also completed technical training for local IT project support field technicians based at the District offices - we trained over 150 community based technicians.  
  • Timing for technical training - was also delivered over 2 days.  This was sufficient timing for the Community Technicians to learn basic troubleshooting for technical and connectivity issues on devices.  
  • Bluewave Wireless were also able to complete in-house capacity building for our Project Team of six staff members who were involved in the implementation of the entire project.  The capacity building included professional training in network deployment, internet technologies & trouble shooting, digital literacy, digital technologies and other technical topics.  From the capacity building and training during the project for all Bluewave Wireless staff members, this enabled our team to be more efficient in the network deployment phase, and provide support during training sessions to participants of the Digital Literacy & Technical Training Workshops. This increased the team's capacity to deliver the Workshops and provide one on one support to participants during training sessions. The team were also able to provide additional support post training for any District office staff who needed further assistance with improving their digital literacy skills, using digital technologies and technical skills.  
  • Due to the vulnerability of the District Offices networks and the connection with the Ministry (for reporting purposes) our technical team set up and trained the District office staff and the Ministry staff on applications and firewalls which could protect their networks from viruses and hackers.  As part of the Digital Literacy Workshops, we showed them how to use digital technologies and pathways to provide an easier and more efficient way of communicating between the District Offices and the Ministry. We also ensured that we discussed with them the risks involved in using these technologies, and the importance of cyber security and protection of information as a topic.  We trained them how to identify these risks, and set themselves up securely when using any device for work purposes.  

Completing the above activities has helped us fulfill all of the above project objectives and directly address the problem of the lack of reliable internet access, the need to address the digital divide in rural areas in Samoa and the high need for digital fluency (literacy) capacity building in these areas for both staff and community members.  

A picture taken at one of the workshops.
A picture taken at one of the workshops.

The project team directly engaged within these rural communities in each District area to ensure there was an understanding of the purpose of the project on a community level, and that there was support for the project from Community leaders - which is essential for the success of any project in Samoa.  This included meeting with village chiefs and executives of the District Community Offices.  

The project team also ensured that the provision of reliable internet was needed by these communities through informal "talanoa" (discussions in Samoan language addressing appropriate cultural protocols) with community leaders. 

How we assessed & prioritized locations 

We were able to assess which locations to prioritize, given our past technical experience, from implementing projects such as the School WIFI project (funded by the Government of Samoa) in 2022.  Prior to the ISIF project, we had already spent significant time in villages across Samoa and we had used these opportunities to technically troubleshoot internet issues with existing infrastructure and networks - given our company's focus and mission was to address the digital divide.  So before we implemented the ISIF Project, we already had scoped out which villages and districts had internet issues.  

In the weeks leading up to the implementation of this ISIF Asia project, we carried out further troubleshooting and speed tests to validate which locations still had slow connectivity or no connectivity across all 51 district offices, before deploying a network in an area.  This was the process we used to identify priority areas.  

Prior to running the Digital Literacy Workshops, our technical team would also go to each site (in person) and run out tests to ensure the networks and infrastructure were working, and which sites were not working.  The technical team would ensure that each site was working and make any changes needed in advance of the Workshops and the Technical training for the Community technicians.  

A picture taken at one of the workshops.
A picture taken at one of the workshops.

Why did we use satellite network solutions?  

We believe that satellite was the best network solution for Samoa for the delivery of this project.  This choice was based on our previous experience from delivering other projects around Samoa, and especially our experience in locations across Samoa during implementation of the School WIFI project.  Satellite is the most cost effective solution, when delivering social projects in small countries with a small population like Samoa, and it also the most efficient (i.e. fastest) way to connect locations around Samoa.  Instead of spending, hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to drag fibre optic cable, to these locations, the fastest and most effective way to get connectivity is through satellite - especially to rural and remote villages.  

Project Key Partners

The Ministry for Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD) was an important partner in the delivery of the Digital Literacy Training for the District Community Centres.

This is the Ministry responsible for all government projects which are implemented in rural communities across Samoa.  They have direct relationships with the village committees and chiefs, as well as the Executives and staff of the district community centres.  

The project team engaged with the Project Manager and the Project Team who oversees the District Community Centres under MWCSD. The Ministry for Women, Community & Social Development supported the project and we agreed to deliver the "Community Connectivity & Digital Literacy Training" Project.  

The training was delivered to staff within each District Community Centre, as there was no digital or ICT training/ capability building activities in place for these newly established Centres.  

During the delivery of the training to the District offices, The Minister and the Executives of the Ministry (MWCSD), requested further support for the delivery of this training for staff of their Ministry. They clearly identified there was also a need for capacity building in Digital Literacy for all staff across of their Ministry.  

Other partners of the project, included E3 Samoa Trust (Bluewave Wireless local NGO partner) & Talamua Media.  

E3 Samoa Trust has relationships with overseas based partners who provide digital devices, educational platforms and access to digital expertise for projects.  We received support for the project from E3 Samoa through the donation of digital devices for 14 district offices.  

A picture taken at one of the workshops.
A picture taken at one of the workshops.

Talamua Media is the main media and communications partner for Bluewave Wireless for this project. As well as media coverage, Talamua Media has their own online media platform which targets both local Samoan audiences and overseas based "diaspora" Samoan audiences online.  They provided videography and video editing support to capture the events, trainings and testimonials of the beneficiaries of this project.  

Project Challenges

Overall the implementation and deployment of the networks was relatively smooth.  This was mainly due to the project team having pre-established relationships and trust with most of the village and district communities.  Which was developed during Bluewave Wireless implementation of the Government of Samoa School WIFI Project and the PacificCode Project with Code Avengers.  As with any project, the Project Team faced some challenges and resistance with implementation of activities in some individual District communities.  

One of the challenges during delivering of the "Community Connectivity & Digital Literacy Training" phase of the project, was aligning each District office and their availability to participate in the Training, due to other priorities and projects.  

Otherwise, on an implementation level for the project - our Team have not had any major issues.  

Note, the scope of the 'Government's School WIFI Project and the PacificCode Project with Code Avengers' projects focused on providing reliable connectivity and access to Digital Education to schools.  Therefore the primary beneficiaries of these projects were schools students and teachers. And the network solutions were only set up at primary schools, secondary schools and study centres (primarily located at churches).  The School WIFI Project was implemented by Bluewave Wireless and we connected 120 school sites across Samoa. The 'PacificCode Project with Code Avengers' project was only implemented at school sites and study centres in Samoa.  The PacificCode training for teachers and students, was delivered at only at the schools and study centres, connected by Bluewave Wireless as part of the School WIFI Project.  

In contrast, this ISIF Asia project was focused on providing reliable connectivity and Digital Literacy Training to the 51 newly established District offices across Samoa, who were responsible for delivering the Government's $1 million District Community Development project.  The primary beneficiaries of this project were the staff of the District offices, community members who lived in the vicinity of the District offices and staff of the Ministry for Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD).  The Digital Literacy Training Workshops component of this project, were all delivered at the District Offices.   

Therefore, the 'PacificCode Project' was implemented and delivered at different locations to this 'Bluewave Wireless Samoa Digital Literacy & District Connectivity Project'.  

Project Review and Assessment

To what extent has the project achieved its objectives? 

We have completed 100% of the project activities as covered under the "Project Implementation Narrative" section and overall we have completed all the main project objectives.   

Objectives completed:

  • Provided a working network for 51 district offices, especially for those in the remote and rural areas where the dominant providers do not reach.  
  • We have also built capacity of individuals in the community on how to troubleshoot, in terms of any connectivity issues they may have at the district office sites.
  • We provided capacity building in digital literacy and fluency for all the district office CEOs, Executives and staff in all 51 district offices.  We delivered these training sessions on site within the District offices on location.  We also ran a Digital Literacy Workshop with the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD) staff, at their main office in Apia.  We identified there is a huge gap and need for capacity building in digital literacy and how to best use digital technology within the Ministry, as well as in the District offices.  This gap within the Ministry was acknowledged by the Hon. Minister and Executive Team of this Ministry.  
  • In these Training sessions, we covered both digital literacy and fluency skills using digital technologies and digital pathways, to support the District offices and the Ministry to work more effectively and efficiently together from multiple locations.  
  • The Honourable Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo and her Executive Team at the Ministry of Women have expressed interest in developing a MOU to work together with Bluewave Wireless to extend the Digital Literacy Training and further develop the capacity of the District office staff and the staff of the Ministry.  

What were the most important findings, outcomes and outputs of the project? What are your plans to use and promote them? 

  • Improved connectivity and providing reliable internet connection to the 51 district sites.  
  • The huge gap in the digital divide in digital fluency, in the 51 district offices (CEO, staff) and also within the Ministry of Women, there's a huge gap and need for capacity building.
  • This gap has been recognized by the Minister and the Ministry - what they have requested is to find ways to continue the capacity building 
  • Connectivity - utilizing connectivity from the project within the community, connectivity for community usage - especially in rural and remote areas that currently lack connectivity from dominant providers.  Bluewave is working on a range of solutions with partners on how to implement and roll out this connectivity.  We are reviewing these solutions based on following Government policies and processes to ensure the solutions meet Government requirements.  

What contribution to Internet development did the project make? Is there already evidence of positive impact? 

  • Yes - there is a huge impact as the deployment of satellite in rural areas with little to no connectivity makes a huge difference for these communities as they now have reliable, fast connectivity through the District Community Centres, which is a main hub of activities for these communities.  
  • There is huge development in connectivity - finding alternative, cost effective solutions.  We have identified multiple solutions. A lot of rural remote areas lack connectivity, especially individuals within the communities are not able to access reliable connectivity.  
  • Yes there has also been impact in Samoa from our project - in the level of connectivity in rural areas and in the huge increase in the level of digital fluency skills within District offices.  Also there has been an impact from the introduction of digital technologies and pathways and how that can improve efficiencies within the District offices, save travel time & cost to Apia.  Through the Workshops we have delivered with our local partners, the participants have now gained new digital skills, which has impacted the way they work and had huge impact on the efficiency of work delivered within these District offices.  This ultimately has a flow on impact to the communities they serve through the social projects they deliver.  

To what extent has the project lived up to its potential for growth/further development? 

  • For further growth and development, we have demonstrated to the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD) and the District office staff who participated in our Digital Literacy Workshops, that there are ways to use digital technologies, and helped them to develop digital fluency skills to work more effectively and efficiently.  
  • All of the Digital Literacy workshop participants have had significant growth and development in their skill sets, which has had a positive impact on their work within the District offices, and also their personal lives within the village. They are now able to use these skills to further develop themselves and access other opportunities for personal and professional development.  
  • The access to connectivity and the Digital Literacy Workshops, has enabled members of the District Offices who live in rural communities to further harness and build up skills, which they are now using to benefit and develop the community as a whole.  

To what extent have the project activities supported the development of local technical capacity? 

  • We have given the District office staff and the wider community who participated in the Digital Literacy Workshops, the basic skill set and knowledge on how to troubleshoot basic level networks, within the district offices or for their personal use at home.  
  • This has a huge impact as it saves on the significant financial expense of engaging IT professionals from the telecommunication providers and/ or local IT businesses to come to the District office and fix basic technical issues. As well as minimizing downtime, when they network is down and they are not able to access for work purposes.  
  • The staff who have been trained in technical expertise, can now troubleshoot and identify whether technical issues are from their devices or from the service provider.  Before our Workshops were delivered, none of the 51 District offices, had any staff members who had the technical skills to test and troubleshoot networks and devices.  

What lessons can be derived that would be useful in improving future performance? 

Some of the lessons we have learned for improving future performance include:

  • Following up with 51 District offices and communities, as well as the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD) what has been useful learnings for them during the workshops. 
  • Identifying in advance where are their main gaps/ weaknesses and re-develop/ build Workshops according to the main areas of skill development they need - for both the District offices level and at the Ministry level.  
  • Providing different levels of Workshops in Digital Literacy and Fluency, to cater for different levels of needs and skill sets. 
  • To improve performance by checking in through site visits, to see how they are going with implementing and using the skills they developed at the Workshops, and provide ongoing support to build on the foundational skills.  
  • Focus on teaching them skills and giving them digital tools that enhance their performance of the key tasks they need to complete within the District offices - such as recording of data and reporting on their Projects, so they can fulfill their accountability requirements to the Ministry for funded projects as part of the $1 million District Projects.   

To what extent has the project helped build the capacity of your institution or of the individuals involved? 

  • We followed and implemented famous JFK quote in our approach to delivery of our Workshops - "a rising tide raises all ships".  The capacity building of our team, has been mainly been focused on community engagement and the skills to be able to identify their needs.  It is important that our staff built their own capacity to identify the different levels of digital literacy skills and needs within each District office, so that we can work towards elevating each District office to the same level of Digital Literacy skills.  And also cater to delivery at different paces to suit different skills levels.  
  • We have been focused on building relationships with the District offices and communities, and how to best communicate and engage with them so we can deliver Workshops which are effective for the participants and have an impact on their lives.  
  • Bluewave staff already had the technical skills to deliver the Digital Literacy skills - our main area of capability building has been in our staff's ability to effectively engage and build relationships with the 51 District office's staff and the Ministry for Women key staff.  Relationships are very important in the Samoan cultural context - so our team have really focused on this aspect of the delivery of the project.
  • We have also built the capacity of our Team to understand the impact we are making by supporting the District offices, as they are all in charge of their own $1 million project, and these projects are having a major impact on the development of each District community within Samoa.  The $1 million project is a major Government community development investment project - so it is important the Bluewave Team understands how much our project and the Digital Workshops we deliver can support the District offices to implement their $1 million community projects.  

Were certain aspects of project design, management, and implementation particularly important to the success of the project? 

  • The co-design of our Workshops in partnership with the Ministry of Women, and the District offices was crucial to the success of this project.  Through this process we were able to identify the digital skills gaps within the district offices and the Ministry, and plan our Workshops accordingly.  
  • In regards to implementation, we were also able to identify the key work tasks and processes, that the District offices needed to complete as part of their accountability to the Ministry for their project funding, and develop the Workshop content and identify suitable digital technologies & pathways, which directly addressed their needs for efficient reporting and data collection. 


Significant changes & impacts as a result of this Project:

  • Through this ISIF project, Bluewave Wireless has been able to make a huge impact by providing network connectivity to the 51 Community District offices of Samoa.  These Community District offices, are very important to the development of Samoa, as they are in charge of delivery of the biggest development project in Samoa, funded by the Government of Samoa - the $1 million tala district development project.  This project has the largest reach and biggest social impact on village communities in Samoa, especially those in rural and remote areas in Samoa.  This network connectivity ISIF project funded by APNIC, has enabled the District offices to access online resources and information to support decision-making and share information that can benefit the communities they serve.  Before this project was implemented, many of the District offices did not have connectivity due to the limited reach of the networks of other dominant service providers in certain rural and remote areas in Samoa.  
  • The impact of the Digital Literacy Workshops was also huge in terms of equipping participants with digital skillsets and knowledge, and giving them access to digital technologies and pathways. The Workshops had a significant impact on the digital capabilities of the staff of the District offices, the staff of the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development staff, as well as the community members who participated in these Workshops.
  • The participants now have the ability to take the skills and knowledge gained from the Workshops, and directly use these skills in their day to day work. This capability building has had a significant impact on the way the staff of the District offices gather information, connect with each other from different locations, being able to share information & updates about their development projects from different offices, sharing information using digital technologies and deliver their Reports to the Ministry from rural and remote areas. Many of these tasks were not possible, before delivery of the Digital Literacy Workshops, as staff did not have the digital skills & knowledge and also access to digital technologies needed to use technology to their advantage. 
  • This project has had a huge positive impact on the ability for staff to deliver of the $1 million tala district development project, using digital technology to create efficiency within their offices, and save time and money to travel to Apia for meetings with the Ministry.  The project has also enabled them to have more robust and secure accountability processes in place, which enables them to meet the audit and accountability requirements of the Ministry for the funding allocated to each office and be able to report remotely using connectivity, digital devices and digital skills gained from the Workshops.  
  • Previous to the implementation of this project, a representative and/ or a team from the Ministry would have to be deployed to the District offices, to manually gather data onsite from the District offices and run Workshops onsite to help the District offices to stay accountable with the project funding.  Or staff from the District offices, would have to visit Apia to deliver information and reports to the Ministry division which oversees the $1 million project.  Therefore, the ISIF project has had a great positive impact on the ability of the Ministry, the relevant Member of Parliament for the District and the District offices to communicate more effectively, save on cost & time of travel for staff and improve accountability reporting, processes & systems using digital technologies and pathways. 
  • Finally, the Digital Literacy Workshops have given the District Office staff, new employable digital skills in digital technology, should they seek other employment opportunities. 

Overall, this ISIF Asia Project, has had a significant impact and lifted the Digital Literacy and Fluency skills a large number of people in rural communities across Samoa, as the reach of the 51 District offices covers the entire area of Samoa.  

Gender Equity and Inclusion

To what extent did the project support active participation from women and gender diverse people both as part of the project team and communities served? 

  • Within the communities we served in this project, more than 50% of the people impacted by the deployment of the networks were women and gender diverse people.  The District offices employ 50% or more women, as well as a number of LBTQI+ staff, who now have access to reliable connectivity which they can access, with technology, to deliver their day to day work activities online.  
  • For the Digital Literacy Workshops, over 50% of the participants were women, as most of the staff in the District Offices in the community are women.  
  • We also opened the Workshops up to members of the wider community for each District office to join in the Training.  There was a large uptake from women in the community to join the workshops, as they were very eager to learn digital skills and about technology. Over 90% of community participants were women.  
  • Usually digital literacy workshops we deliver in Samoa are male dominated, however, because the District offices had more than 50% female staff and also because we opened the invitation to anyone in community who wanted to participate, we definitely observed the eagerness and enthusiasm of women to join in the Workshops. 
  • 90% of qualified and experienced IT technicians and Telco engineers are men in Samoa.  The Bluewave Project Team are all male at present. However, following the delivery of the Digital Literacy and Technical Workshops, we do have plans to actively recruit any women who would like to be trained as IT technicians within our Team.

Why did we have such active participation from women and diverse community members?

We had a high level of interest from women and other diverse members of the community, as we left the door open to all community members to join in and participate. We did not limit the criteria on who could participate in the Workshops.  There are not many opportunities in Samoa to attend Workshops/ Programs which are delivered within the community setting.  This led to our high numbers of participation from women and other diverse community members.   

A photograph from one of the workshops.
A photograph from one of the workshops.

We also found that women in the village/ district areas were more open to learning new things and they were more intrigued by technology.  The women who attended our Workshops understood that technology plays a huge part in everyday life nowadays and they know their children are using technology through their mobile phones.  So the women within the community were more motivated to learn and understand more about technology.  They wanted to know how they could use technology to better themselves, their families and the wider community.  

Our advice for other projects, on how they can improve engagement with women and other diverse people in the communities they are targeting, is to leave the door open and make sure the message is clearly communicated to the community members prior to implementing your project through the right channels.  

Bluewave Wireless has built a high level of trust within the various villages and districts in Samoa over many years of delivering other projects at a grassroots community level.  Through these long term relationships, we tapped into our local connections with the "Komiti o Tina" - Village Women's Committees to promote the Digital Literacy Training. We made sure that we engaged directly with the Women's Committees and provided them directly with information about the Digital Literacy Training Workshops, and explained how the training would benefit them.  

Engaging with the Village Women's Committees, also led to our high numbers of active participation from women and diverse community members.  

A photograph taken at one of the workshops.
A photograph taken at one of the workshops

How was gender equality and inclusion addressed on the project team structure and decision-making? 

  • Given we co-designed the Digital Literacy Workshops with the CEOs and Executive staff of the District office, we considered them to be part of the Project Team for delivery of the Workshops.  Over 50% of the CEOs and Executive staff were women, so from a project team structure and decision making perspective, women played a key role in supporting the design, development and implementation of the Digital Literacy Workshops delivered for the District offices and wider village communities.
  • The approach we used for project team structure and decision making, was based on who the older person was in the Team, which is appropriate within the Samoan cultural context. The majority of participants were women, so the women who were involved in the project teams really took on the responsibility of leadership and delegating, when planning the workshops and also during the delivery of the Workshops, in support of the Facilitators from Bluewave Wireless & E3 Samoa.
  • The CEO for Bluewave Wireless & Project Manager is female.  She is the Project Manager for this project, and has oversight of the entire implementation of the project, alongside the CTO who is male. 

Has the project allowed for a particular contribution to capacity building of women, LGBTQI+ or marginalized social groups based on other diversity criteria?

  • The delivery of Digital Literacy Training activity of this project was focused on the engagement of women, LGBTQI+ and marginalized social groups. We ensured that we gave every opportunity to these groups to participate in the Workshops, especially those from the wider community.
  • The majority of Workshop participants were women, so the project, through the delivery of the Digital Literacy workshops, made a huge contribution to capacity building of women in the rural areas of Samoa.  They have gained the knowledge and skillsets in digital technologies, which they can now apply to their working life for those who work in offices, and in their personal lives.  
  • In Samoa, we have a strong LGBTQI+ community within each village and district, who are referred to in a Samoan cultural context as "fa'afafine" and "fa'atama".  There were a number of "fa'afine" participants who participated as they either worked for the District offices, or they were participants directly from the wider community.
  • Also, in terms of marginalized groups, we reached a group of people who live in remote, rural areas. We regarded them as marginalized due to their distance from urban areas, lack of resources and the general underdevelopment of their communities.  These communities who do not normally have much access to technology, capacity building and the opportunities to attend Workshops. We had participants from these remote, rural areas participate in the Digital Literacy Workshops, who were able to gain digital knowledge and skills through this project. This included a large number from Savaii, our other island, who sometimes miss out on capacity building and training opportunities, due to their distance from Upolu, the main island of Samoa.  And also the cost of travel time to catch the ferry from Savaii to Upolu for training, when it is held in our urban areas around Apia (capital of Samoa).  

To what extent did the project support people with disabilities, both as part of the project team and communities served?

  • The Digital Literacy Training activity of this project supported people with disabilities who wanted to engage in this Training.   
  • There were only a handful of Digital Literacy Workshop participants with disabilities, mostly wheelchair-bound people.  However, we did our best to cater for their needs, and ensure that they were given equal and fair opportunity to participate in these workshops, and fully engage in the learning opportunity to gain digital knowledge and skills, and to be exposed to digital technologies.  
  • We also ensured that there were people with disabilities who were given the opportunity to participate in the technical training, so they could learn about troubleshooting technical and connectivity issues.  
  • To the best of our abilities, we ensured, overall, that we removed any barriers for people with disabilities who wanted to participate in our Workshops. We did our best to ensure they had access to the same experiences, and gained the same level of digital skills and knowledge, as those participants without disabilities.  

To what extent did the project support language and/or cultural diversity, both as part of the project team and communities served?

  • The project has been fully implemented and delivered in a culturally appropriate way within the "fa'asamoa" culture in Samoa and the main language spoken in all engagements with the local communities is the Samoan language.  
  • The project team, including Bluewave Wireless staff, E3 Team, and Talamua team are all Samoan and speak Samoan fluently.  The team has the skillset and knowledge to weave the Samoan culture and language, into delivery of all activities bi-lingual, with more emphasis on the Samoan language. As well as the team being every aware of cultural sensitivities.  The team also had the ability to use appropriate language, and being able to address certain issues in a culturally appropriate way.  As well as having experience of knowing what will work, and what won't work in terms of adhering to cultural protocols within the village communities.  
  • This project has been successful due to the cultural approach taken by the Bluewave Wireless Team in all engagements with communities, which is very important in the rural areas and villages. The Bluewave team were able to identify and know how to deal with cultural aspects of the project, and how to weave the Samoa culture into their planning, implementation and delivery of all aspects of the project.  
  • The Bluewave Wireless team have leveraged their cultural connections, knowledge and chiefly titles to their advantage in the delivery of this project throughout all activities - from the site identification, community engagements, deployment of sites and the delivery of the Digital Literacy Training Workshops.
  • The Bluewave team, and all facilitators, were able to deliver the Workshops bi-lingual and mostly delivered in the Samoan language - which meets the needs of the communities served.  As Samoan is the first language for 90% of Samoans who live in Samoa, in particular those who live in rural areas.  The facilitators had the skills to translate technical and digital terms into the Samoan language so that the participants could fully understand the content, follow instructions and gain better understanding of the digital tools, skills and technologies discussed in the Digital Literacy Workshops.  

Has the project inspired change inside your organization in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

  • It has always been Bluewave Wireless mission and why, in regards to all initiatives we deliver as a business to address diversity, equity and inclusion in technology in Samoa.  Our goal has always been to use our expertise and knowledge to help engage, embrace and empower our people, especially those in the rural and remote communities.  And to facilitate and support our people to open their mindsets to use technology to access opportunities to better themselves, their communities and their country.  
  • For both Bluewave Wireless and E3 Samoa, the main goals of our organizations have always been to empower Samoans and their communities, for the betterment of families and the community.  And to build Samoa as a country that is able to fully use technology in a beneficial way, and to help develop and move our country forward.
  • The Bluewave Wireless team has been intentional and inclusive of women, gender diverse people, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in the delivery of all of our projects and within our organization in general.  
  • Since we started operating in Samoa, as a business, we have always incorporated diversity, equity and inclusion in our Company culture, and the way we do business and serve our clients.  
  • As a company, Bluewave Wireless, our vision and passion has always been focused on ensuring equity and inclusion, in terms of addressing the digital divide in Samoa.  We have always strived, within our means and resources to find solutions, to extend our connectivity reach to our rural and remote communities, who have little to no connectivity.

Project Management

We have done things differently for this project in terms of administrative support, as we spent more on resources where possible to ensure that we provided the best outcomes for the project and also followed appropriate processes and procedures to ensure the project was successful.  In terms of administrative support for the project team, we provided devices, training and data to ensure connectivity in all locations.  This included equipping staff from the District offices, who were part of our project Team to support implementation in their offices with resources, while we were working on location to ensure the Team was able to deliver on the project outcomes.  

The project has inspired us to be more open minded during implementation, and to be more adaptive to those in the community who we are delivering Workshops for, especially when discussing technical concepts.  Within our organization and team, we have expanded our methods of communicating with our stakeholders and participants at the District offices and the Ministry for Women, Community & Social Development to include all digital communication applications.  This has been much easier now that there is connectivity within the District offices in all areas, especially the rural and remote areas.  

This ISIF Asia project has greatly enhanced and strengthened our organization's reputation to deliver high value, high impact projects which address the digital divide in Samoa, improve connectivity for rural and remote areas, and building the capability of our people in Samoa to gain digital skills, knowledge and the ability to use digital technologies to improve their everyday lives.  This projects builds on work we have delivered in the past and has enabled us to strengthen our position as a trusted organization to deliver digital technology projects in Samoa.  The delivery of the Digital Literacy Workshops has given us more credibility with Government Ministries, and gaining trust within communities.  On a community level, they know and trust we have their best interests at heart, and they also feel a sense of ownership with the project, and that they are part of a credible training program, delivered by a Samoan organization. We have also built up trust and credibility with the community, through our ability to deliver bi-lingual, be relatable to our people and demonstrating how passionate we are about their development. This has greatly enhanced Bluewave's credibility within the community, as a trusted service provider of Digital Literacy Programs.  

Project Sustainability

  • We have not handed over the delivery of the Digital Literacy Workshops project as yet to the community. We have laid the foundation of digital skillsets and knowledge for the staff of the 51 District offices, the communities and the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development (MWSCD).  At this stage, we are working towards signing a MOU with MWCSD to provide and deliver at a larger scale, further capacity building with digital technologies and pathways for the District offices and communities.  
  • The project has generated many further opportunities for other partnerships and funding.  Due to the huge impact and support for this ISIF project, we have received a high level of interest locally and internationally to provide further support for this Project.  We have interest and support from the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa, as well as the Minister of Women, Community & Social Development, Hon. Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molio'o and the Ministry Executive Team, the Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, Hon. Hon. Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi and his Ministry, Members of Parliament for the District Offices and other Ministries who are interested in Capacity Building for their staff in digital skills, digital literacy and digital technologies.  We have also attracted interest and potential funding opportunities from international organizations such as MFAT New Zealand, DFAT Australia, Australia Trade & Investment, the UK Embassy, the German Embassy and other International Development organizations, who work with rural and developing communities and other internet based organizations.  

Project Communication

Project Communication

What communication and dissemination efforts have been made during the reporting period? 

  • Community Engagement
    • Initially, the main form of communication was engagement of village & community leaders face to face in a traditional setting within the village.  This form of communication is called "talanoa" method - which is to directly engage and discuss matters relevant to the project in a culturally appropriate way, face to face and in the Samoan language.  This included face to face meetings in all 51 districts to get their buy in before deployment of satellites to the District sites.
    • There has been ongoing face to face dialogue and updates delivered to these village leaders and communities throughout the project. Bluewave Wireless is committed to ensuring the beneficiaries of this Project are kept up to date throughout to reflect on the progress and outcomes of the project for their communities.  
  • Stakeholder engagement with Government
    • For the Digital Literacy training we formally engaged the Project Team at the Ministry for Women, Community & Social Development to get their support and buy in for the Digital Literacy Training sessions. The project team then disseminated communications via their channels to inform the District Community Centres of the upcoming Workshops and worked closely with their CEOs and Executive Teams to co-design, plan and schedule for the delivery of the Workshops.   
  • Our CTO has been disseminating updates on the Project & the delivery of Workshops via LinkedIn & Facebook. 
  • Bluewave Wireless has a partnership with Talamua Media for this project - they provide coverage via their media platforms as well as the videography and video editing of all video content shared on Bluewave Wireless pages.  Please note the videos are all in Samoan language. 
  • Bluewave Wireless also leverages on its community NGO E3 Samoa Trust to assist and support with Community Engagement and dissemination of updates via E3 Samoa Trust social media channels.  

Please see links below for project updates during delivery of the Digital Literacy Workshops phase of the project on Facebook and LinkedIn:

Project Recommendations and Use of Findings

The findings and lessons learnt from this project, really helped us to adjust our approach as we went through the implementation phases of the project.  Working within the communities, during the implementation of both the Network Connectivity phase and the Workshop delivery phase, really helped us to make better decisions and improve the delivery of the project.  

Participating community members.
Participating community members.

We have shared our findings and learnings with the following stakeholders:

  • Ministry for Women (MWCSD), the Minister of MWCSD and the $1 million project Division within the Ministry.  For MWCSD, they have used this information to better help and shape policies and improve processes, in regards to the $1 million projects. As well, as shaping their views on how to roll out successful capability building Programs for the District office.  
  • The Hon. Prime Minister, and she was very pleased to hear that we had engaged at a grassroots level with the District office and the communities within the village settings, and understand their strengths and weaknesses.  
  • Other international organizations such as MFAT New Zealand, DFAT Australia and the Australia Trade & Invest organization. 
Participating community members.
Participating community members.

All the information we have gathered from the project and lessons learnt, has helped us to make better informed decisions for future projects.  One of our key lessons and findings of this project, is the importance of cultural intelligence and being able to speak the language of our communities.  This has made a huge difference to the success of the project, in terms of high level of engagement and trust from the Ministry level, through to the District offices and on a grassroots community level. Understanding the language, culture and protocols of Samoans, is key to the success of any technical/ technology based project delivered at a Community level in Samoa.     

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