Rights, Empowerment & Cohesion (REACH) Project Piloted in Tongatapu (Eastern Districts) 25th – 29th March 2019

Eastern Side, Tongatapu (Hahake)

On 25th March 2019, the first Pilot Phase of the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) Mobile Service Delivery project was rolled out in Tongatapu at the eastern districts followed by the 1 week in ‘Eua. This was launched at the Haveluliku village, Tongatapu.  The REACH is an initiative coordinated by the Women’s Affairs Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (WAD/MIA).  The REACH is aimed at creating awareness and raising service delivery on social, economic and legal rights for remote and rural communities. Essentially selected government services are mobilized and taken to the these communities as a means to empower remote communities through access to information and service delivery.  Five (5) line ministries participated that included the Ministry of Justice (Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Family Protection Legal Aid Centre and the Electoral Office for National ID’s), Ministry of Labour and Commerce (Register of Businesses), Ministry of Internal Affairs (Youth Division, Women’s Affairs Division, Employment and Social Protection), and the Ombudsman’s Office. This was an opportunity for all the departments to raise awareness on their own respective services. The service delivery as well as the awareness began in Haveluliku and the team moved to Nakolo on the Halaliku area before heading off to Niutoua and Afaa in the last two days of that week. A total of seven (7) villages were reached.

The highlight of the week was one client (a mother) who applied for an emergency protection order (EPO) against her son who threatened her and her family.  The son was allegedly involved in drugs and the mother including her family felt unsafe even with the son in jail. The Court granted the EPO followed by a hearing in chamber with both parties present.   The mother has not returned for further assistance.

A total of 281 people attended and benefitted from the public awareness in the eastern districts.  The report compiled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported a total of 826 people who benefitted from the service delivery component.

FPLAC team consisted of Taufu’i Naufahu (Assistant Secretary), Fitilagi Fa’anunu (Director) and Vika ‘Akau’ola (Family Protection Advocate)

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