Through Pacific Women, the Australian Government will spend approximately $10.1 million over 10 years (2012–2022) on initiatives to support women’s empowerment in Tonga.
Country Plans are the mechanism through which Pacific Women outcomes and activities are planned and agreed between DFAT and counterpart governments, following extensive national consultations. They provide detail on what will be funded and how these funding decisions are made. The Tonga Country Plan was developed following an in-country design mission. The first three-year plan included five activities valued at $2.9 million for implementation from 2013–2016. A review of the Tonga Country Plan took place during October 2015 to assess progress and make recommendations on the future directions of the plan. The Tonga Country Plan was updated and extended for additional three years until June 2019.
The Country Plan prioritises women’s economic empowerment in a holistic manner by supporting the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children. Through this initiative women and girls, including survivors of violence, have expanded economic opportunities that they can use to make strategic life choices. It is envisioned that through taking a partnership and multi-sectoral approach, this will increase the sustainability of programs to empower women to be economically independent.
Funding for the women’s centres such as Women and Children Crisis Centre and Tonga National Centre for Women and Children will ensure the continuing provision of vital services to survivors of violence, as well as trialling prevention approaches in communities. Another new initiative is the Families Free of Violence (FFOV) program, a 3- year program managed by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), in cooperation with the Government of Tonga, working across multiple sectors in the government. These include the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ (MIA) Women Affairs Division (WAD) and Tonga Police, to strengthen the response efforts to family violence in Tonga and increasing community awareness of the impacts of family violence.
The Country Plan also supports work by UN Women to strengthen best practice (including in monitoring and evaluation) across the many organisations that are delivering prevention programs in Tongan context.
Through the Tonga Gender Equality Adviser position, Pacific Women provides additional technical support to DFAT sector programs in Tonga to ensure that program design properly addresses the needs of women and men and to ensure that monitoring and evaluation is gender sensitised and captures positive change.
Country Plan support for a local Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and a Policy and Legislation Officer will strengthen the work of the Women’s Affairs Division. This is complemented by continuous support and mentoring from the Gender Equality Adviser and the Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser.
In addition to Pacific Women, DFAT makes an important contribution to gender equality in Tonga through mainstreaming gender outcomes in the aid program, as well as through political, diplomatic and corporate activities.
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- Date Published: January 14, 2019