Skills training empowers women to generate incomes

Mafi Fakaanga receives a skills certificate from Dr Sharman Stone. Nuku’alofa, 5 December 2018. Photo credit: Matangi Tonga.

Building their capacity for generating incomes, nine Tongan women were awarded certificates after completed training under a Women’s Economic Empowerment Pilot Project on December 5.

Australia’s Third Ambassador for Women and Girls, Hon. Dr Sharman Stone awarded the Certificates of Completion from the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children (TNCWC), in partnership with Tonga Skills.

Dr Stone noted that women in Tonga create beautiful things such as the kiekie, and she commended their craft and skills.

“A common objective is for every little girl to have the same life opportunities that of a little boy. I thank you for committing your lives towards making the world and Tonga a better place.”

She said economic empowerment was important in changing the idea that women were inferior, could not do things and were not empowered.

TNCWC Coordinator, Fuiva Kavaliku said that the organization was very grateful to the Government of Australia for its assistance through Pacific Women.

She said what had been a dream in the past years, was now becoming a reality as TNCWC would be able to expand its services to its current and future clients and develop a tool to build their capacity towards economic independence and sustainability.

“Those women who feel they have had no choice in a violent relationship due to lack of skills, could now be empowered.”

Livelihood

The centre has signed a 20-month funding agreement through Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women), an Australian Government initiative. The project aims for women and girls, including survivors of violence against women and girls (VAWG), to have access to and control over expanded economic opportunities, and to be able to make strategic life choices.

The participants, mostly from Ma’ufanga, had completed training in cooking run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food (MAFFF), as well as sewing, screen printing and product design run by Tonga Skills, with health and well-being run by Tonga Health, which started in September.

The next phase is looking at these women establishing their small business with seed funding assitance from this project.

The project will benefit women economically and build their capacities towards income generating at the micro-level. It is anticipated that their self-esteem and morale will be boosted with the newly obtained or strengthened knowledge and skill.”

The women also sold their products which were showcased during the event at the centre’s compound in Halaleva.