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How Women are Supporting Women
The world will never be the same after the surge of the #MeToo movement. The power of united women is a force to be reckoned with, and this online, female-instigated movement brought forth powerful impacts to the status of affairs, the society and the world at large.

In the light of recent events, the Borgen Project went a step further to find out how women are supporting women around the world. More importantly, how women-led-organizations are strengthening other women around the world to fight against poverty and hunger. In this research, two organizations stood out: Mama Cash and Foundation for Women.

Mama Cash

Mama Cash is an Amsterdam-based non-profit organization that provides financial support to women-led organizations in developing nations. Started in 1983 by a group of five like-minded feminist women around a kitchen table, the organization recently received around $5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Foundation for Women

Foundation for Women (FFW) is another great example of how women are supporting women. This group is a microfinancing organization founded in 1997 by philanthropist Deborah Lindholm. Based in San Diego, it enables individual women to achieve financial independence by providing microloans ranging from $250 to $1000.

Whom the Organizations Support

FFW’s nurtures women entrepreneurs in India and Sub Saharan African countries like Zambia, Niger and Liberia, and provide the women in these locations much-needed capital without requiring security money deposits or collateral. In fact, an applicant only needs:

  • An authorized proof of residence
  • A business idea

Mama Cash addresses the cause women empowerment through “movement building.” Movement building provides grants to indigenous women-led organizations that work at the grass-root level in India, Sri Lanka, Peru, Serbia and many others, that then work with local communities to empower its women.

The Funding Process

To understand precisely how women are supporting women, one must pay attention to the funding process. FFW sources fund directly from donors online to sponsor a woman entrepreneur in an impoverished country.

However, Mama Cash has a step-by-step process to select a grantee. The organization accepts applications only once a year during a “grant window,” wherein the company interacts with all stakeholders (founders, advisors, end beneficiaries) before sanctioning a grant. Even after the grant is decided upon, the members continue to provide knowledge and technical assistance to all involved.

Both Mama Cash and FFW strive to achieve a common goal of empowering women to earn their livelihood, attain economic security and gain equal property and human rights. These admirable efforts are uniting women across the globe, and all nations wait with bated breath to see what these empowered females accomplish next.

– Himja Sethi

Photo: Flickr

Women's Rights in Timor-LesteThe Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, a country located in Southeast Asia, gained its independence from Indonesia on May 20, 2002. This came after a popular vote in favor of becoming independent on August 30, 1999. As one of the world’s youngest and poorest nations, it is facing numerous social, political and economic issues. The country is not ignoring its issues but is instead working to improve them daily. One subject that is currently being brought to public attention is women’s rights in Timor-Leste, or the lack thereof.

Women in Timor-Leste face daily challenges that their male counterparts do not face to the same degree. One of these challenges is of an economic nature. Many women in Timor-Leste do not have the same training opportunities as men, which limits their job options. This limited access to jobs became a large issue after the conflict that Timor-Leste faced following the vote for independence in 1999 and before it was declared a sovereign state in 2002. During this time, nearly half of Timorese women were widowed due to widespread violence. These women became the sole provider in many households, and with economic options greatly limited for women in the country, many were left in poverty.

The government of Timor-Leste has recognized the economic challenges faced by women in the country. It is for this reason that Timor-Leste’s 2014 Country Gender Assessment includes an area dedicated to laying out a framework for advancing the economic opportunities of women. This framework includes increasing women’s participation in the labor market by improving training opportunities and implementing the Secretariat of State for Professional Training and Employment Policy’s gender mainstreaming strategy. These efforts will help to increase the number of financially independent women in Timor-Leste. In this area, women’s rights in Timor-Leste are advancing tremendously.

Another area of women’s rights in Timor-Leste that the country has struggled with is domestic and gender-based violence. Domestic violence is the most reported crime to the Vulnerable Persons Unit of the National Police by Timorese women, showing that this is a serious issue that is being faced by numerous women in the country. The government of Timor-Leste is determined to end this cycle of domestic violence. In addition to including women’s rights in the new constitution, the nation has also passed violence-specific legislation. This includes the Law Against Domestic Violence, which was passed in 2010 and defines domestic violence as a public crime. Timor-Leste also adopted the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, which provides a strategy of prevention for domestic violence, as well as a number of services for survivors of gender-based violence and domestic violence.

In addition to the legislative actions being taken to reduce domestic violence in Timor-Leste and promote the economic advancement of women, government officials are also speaking out on the subject of women’s rights in Timor-Leste. The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Rui Maria de Araújo, made a statement at the Global Leader’s Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in 2015. He stated that Timor-Leste is fully committing to “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.” There is hope in this statement, and the lives of the citizens of Timor-Leste can only continue to improve as the rights of women continue to increase.

– Nicole Stout

Photo: Flickr

5 Nonprofits Helping Women and Girls in Nigeria

Traditional religious and cultural beliefs have hindered the growth and development of women and girls in Nigeria. Often faced with opposition, this particular demographic does not have any support. As the economy of Nigeria continues to worsen, many programs that aid women and girls are likely to be cut. However, most remain strong and continue to provide assistance to Nigerian females through various institutions. These are five nonprofits helping women and girls in Nigeria.

Kudirat Initiative for Democracy

Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) works on projects focused on eliminating barriers for women’s public participation in social, economic and political development and ending violence against women.

KIND is just one of the many nonprofits helping women and girls in Nigeria by providing them with the information and skills needed to take part as service leaders at all levels of society.

One of KIND’s leadership programs, Kudra, is offered at higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. This program works with young women at universities, supplying them with leadership tools and life-building skills. These young women are encouraged to engage in changing their communities through community engagement, building businesses and mentoring others, thereby boosting the development of a generation of women leaders in Nigeria.

Wellbeing Foundation Africa

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is a maternal, newborn and child health group in Africa, noted for being one of the first established nonprofits in Nigeria and the backbone of the larger Wellbeing Group.

Through strategic collaboration with preeminent global providers of maternal and child health products, with the hopes of sealing the cracks in health infrastructure, Wellbeing Universal Health organizes the expedition and accessibility of life-saving supplies to expectant and new mothers in Africa.

Working to Advance Science and Technology Education for African Women (WAAW Foundation)

Founded in 2007, WAAW Foundation is an international organization that works to enhance the pipeline of African women entering the science and technology workforce.

WAAW Foundation’s STEM strategy underlines how the use of computer science, technology and programming can be used to solve the energy and clean water crisis occurring in Africa through the use of an integrated inquiry-based learning experience.

They are able to give girls an opportunity to seek STEM training while also introducing them to technologies that use available resources to solve massive issues in their own local communities.

Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ)

WIMBIZ is a Nigerian nonprofit created by individuals who recognized a major issue of few women in leadership roles in workplaces and businesses.

This organization helps women manage the many conflicts they face in the workplace by motivating them to achieve their potential and be meaningful contributors to economic development. Its goal is to increase the success rate of women entrepreneurs and progressing the number of women in senior levels at corporations and empowering women to secure leadership positions in management, businesses and public service positions.

Stand to End Rape Initiative

Stand to End Rape Initiative is a youth-led nonprofit organization advocating against sexual assault by offering prevention methods and psychological services for survivors. They advocate for rape survivors who find it difficult to speak out because of social stigma and also utilize varying platforms to teach the communities sexual violence and abuse.

With these five nonprofits helping women and girls in Nigeria, the opportunity for other organizations to contribute their resources toward addressing social problems will hopefully alleviate societal issues within this specific demographic.  

– Zainab Adebayo

Photo: Flickr

Educate Girls Empowers Youth in Rural IndiaEducation provides a gateway to social equality and is a critical human right. Schooling can enable young girls to transcend economic and gender barriers, improving their quality of life, offering them independence and transforming the opportunities that are available to them. As a country with one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world, India has roughly 3 million girls who are not enrolled in schools.

Founded in 2007, the Mumbai-based nonprofit Educate Girls is tackling gender disparities by reforming school systems in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and putting more children in the classroom. Educate Girls was founded in 2007 by Safeena Husain, a graduate of the London School of Economics, with the hope of alleviating poverty and strengthening the condition of young women by giving girls positive learning experiences.

In Rajasthan, only 52.66 percent of females are literate, while 350,000 are not in school. The organization aims to bring quality education to around 2.5 million children annually by 2018. Educate Girls has since developed from a 500-school pilot project and presently has interventions in over 21,000 institutions in underserved regions of India. By mobilizing community and government resources, the program seeks to address the tremendous obstacles that girls in rural districts face.

One of the impediments that girls face in accessing education includes patriarchal societal norms, which consist of gender bias and practices such as child marriage. In India, 47 percent of girls are married before their eighteenth birthday. Many are expected to help their families by working in the fields or tending to younger children in the household, rather than going to school. Some parents have expressed cultural concerns, such as a fear that if girls enroll in school, they may choose not to wear traditional clothing or participate in traditional marriages.

Educate Girls strives to create community ownership through a series of measures that increase enrollment and retention as well as change learning outcomes. The NGO works through Team Balika, volunteers who actively promote girls’ education. Members spread awareness in villages and also provide support to children in school. Team Balika volunteers are trained to use a creative learning curriculum that brings activity-based learning to students. The organization also holds door-to-door meetings with parents to convince them to send their girls to school.

Educate Girls supports school administrations by electing a School Management Committee that generates improvement plans and school assessments. Finally, the program coordinates the election of girl leaders who serve as councilmembers, helping them to build a voice within their communities.

In recent years, India has made progress in improving the education of its citizens. In 2009, the Parliament of India passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, making education a fundamental right to children ages six to 14. In 2014, Educate Girls created the world’s first Development Impact Bond, through which an outcome payer will pay back an investor as long as Educate Girls reaches its targets.

Today, the organization receives support from corporations such as Cartier, Vodafone and Deutsche Bank and will be scaling to include 16 districts within its reach. While there is still much headway that the country must make in its path to gender equality, Educate Girls is taking great strides by championing the learning and development of India’s girls, particularly in rural villages. By addressing the situation in some of the nation’s most poverty-stricken and remote communities, Educate Girls is improving the growth and livelihood of a new generation of young women, paving the way for social change.

– Shira Laucharoen

Photo: Flickr

Her Farm Offers Hope to Children and Women in Nepal
Women in Nepal own land and pursue new occupations. 
A small village in Nepal, Mankhu, has a unique program for women’s empowerment — Her Farm — where women are in a position to pursue their dreams, learn how to drive a motorbike, learn English, work in radio, study film and photography and so much more.

Women in Nepal

Even though the women in Nepal run the house, most women still depend on male family members for financial stability. This pattern often leaves many women unable to escape abusive circumstances and limits them from pursuing their passions.

A village program with a group of 30 people, mainly women and children, focuses on allowing women to own land and pursue their dream jobs outside of just traditionally female areas of occupation like handicrafts or food production.

The people come from very different backgrounds with some from the village, some escaping from abusive relationships and some coming from mental-health facilities or broken homes.

Violence and Gender Inequality

In a survey from the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal in 2011, 28 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 said they had experienced violence from their partner at least once in their partnership; 14 percent had experienced it in the last year.

Women who do not have an occupation often have no choice but to stay in an abusive relationship.

The government of Nepal recognizes this problem has offered significant tax cuts if land is registered in a woman’s name, but little progress has resulted. Her Farm is responding to this issue by offering a safe place for women.

The country ranks 115th in the Gender Inequality Index by the United Nations Development Program, and child marriage also remains a problem. Her Farm provides education so all the children in the village can go to school every day.

Women Farmers

A joint program by U.N. Women and partners in Nepal has also improved women farmers’ agricultural production and income, as well as changed many of the gender-discriminatory attitudes of their male counterparts.

An irrigation system was built to bring fresh water closer to homes and water the crops through support from the Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment Joint Program and was implemented by U.N. Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. Such developments are funded by a consortium of donors that focus on economic empowerment.

Rural women in Nepal lack recognition for their roles, making up a large proportion of the agricultural labor force and sustaining nearly 80 percent of the population.

Ending Discrimination

Women farmers face discrimination with unequal pay and lack of access to resources and markets. Fortunately, though, the narrative is changing as women’s agricultural production improves and the program increases their income, food security and independence.

As women in Nepal take up leadership positions, their children can follow their footsteps and have women to look up to as they change the climate for women in Nepal.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

taxi service for women
A study by the International Labor Organization isolated a lack of safe transportation as a major contributor to the low number of Pakistani women participating in the workforce. Pink Taxi is Pakistan’s first taxi service for women, and ‘Paxi’ aims to create a safe environment for both its female passengers and female drivers through its Pink Taxi service.

Paxi offers three services: bikes with male drivers for short distances, the Paxi Taxi with male drivers and the Pink Taxi with female drivers. Pink Taxis are Paxi’s women-exclusive car service — the cars will not pick up male passengers between the ages of 12 and 70.

Pink Taxi launched in March 2017 and has been growing in popularity. Two months after launch, the service received approximately 50-60 more requests for rides per day.

 

A Safe Form of Transportation

Karachi’s Urban Resource Center recently released a study that found that 55 percent of women commuting by public bus in Karachi felt uncomfortable and faced sexual harassment. Public buses have large men’s areas and small women’s areas, but separation is oftentimes not enforced.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister for Transport in Sindh (the province where Karachi is located) supports safe alternative transportation for women. He says: “Having a mode of public transport catering to [the women] alone can solve many of their transport issues.”

 

Call a Cab via an App

The taxi service for women can be called with the Paxi app. To accommodate less tech-savvy customers, Pink Taxi users can also dial a call center or use SMS texting to find a car. The rides can also be hailed on the road. To make the taxis recognizable to passengers, the cars are heavily branded and drivers wear special uniforms.

In addition, Pink Taxi drivers are given free driving and self-defense lessons and extensive communication training. Female drivers might face harassment and threats on the job, but Paxi teaches its female employees how to mitigate these situations.

 

Cost of a Paxi

Each ride is slightly more than a traditional taxi service, with a base fare of Rs. 150 and an additional Rs. 15/km. Other taxis start at a base fare of Rs. 100. Taxis are substantially more expensive than bus fare — a one-way bus ticket costs Rs. 20.

For professional women, Pink Taxis offer a welcome alternative to male-driven taxi cabs; however, the price can exclude lower-income women who rely on the bus for their daily commute.

 

Paxi’s Unifying Goals

Paxi aims to bring its taxi service for women to other cities in Pakistan such as Sukkur and Peshawar — Peshawar, for instance, is deeply conservative and observes strict purdah (seclusion of women), so Paxi would be extremely useful to the women in these areas. In fact, Paxi’s founder, Shaikh M. Zahid, argues that bringing Pink Taxis to Peshawar can give the large number of highly-educated women increased mobility throughout the city. This idea is encouraged by the positive response he’s received in informal talks with religious leaders and women in the community. 

For now, though, Paxi will continue increasing its fleet of women drivers in Karachi to meet growing demand, all while looking to expansions of its services in the future.

 – Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

women’s rights in Chile
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile leaves office in March 2018. During her two terms as president, Bachelet worked tirelessly to advance women’s rights in Chile. She leaves a legacy of legislative victories in the fight for gender equality.

Bachelet entered government as an advisor in the Health Ministry. She served as Chile’s first female health minister in 2002 and its first female defense minister in 2002. She became Chile’s president in 2006. Her victory depended on the support of women — Bachelet’s victory was the first time a majority of women in Chile supported a left-of-center presidential candidate.

 

Time in Office

During her first term as president, Bachelet championed legislation to further women’s rights in Chile. She passed protections for victims of domestic violence, fought workplace discrimination, reformed the pension system to be fairer to women, gave low-income mothers better access to childcare and introduced universal access to emergency contraception. 

Chile’s conservative governing coalition strongly opposed Bachelet’s plan to expand availability of emergency contraception. Bachelet avoided Congress by issuing executive orders to mandate that public clinics offer free emergency contraception. Her conservative congressional challengers won an appeal in the Constitutional Court, causing Bachelet to instead pursue legislative approval. The bill was popular with the public and supported through mass demonstrations against the court’s ruling. Bolstered by public approval, Bachelet fast-tracked the bill and it was approved in 2010. 

 

Between Presidencies

Bachelet left office in 2010, unable to run for a second consecutive term due to constitutional limitations. She became the first Executive Director of the newly created U.N. Women. As the head of the organization, Bachelet worked to realize U.N. Women’s agenda — ending violence against women, economically empowering women, including women in global peace and security planning, increasing the number of women in leadership positions and influencing countries to focus national policies and budgets on increasing gender equity.

 

Return to Politics

Bachelet then returned to politics, winning a second term as president of Chile in 2013. In her second term, Bachelet created the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. She also passed legislation requiring that women make up 40 percent of candidates running for an elected office.

In 2017, the Constitutional Court of Chile ruled in favor of a reproductive rights bill introduced by Bachelet. The bill legalizes abortions in extreme cases — abortions were previously illegal in all instances. Bachelet’s bill was bolstered by public support — 70 percent of Chileans approved of the legislation.

 

A Strong Legacy and Continued Impact

After exiting office in March 2018, Bachelet will start as Board Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health where she will continue to advocate for women’s rights in Chile.

“Promoting progress towards building a more equitable and just world, that guarantees the rights of women and girls, is more than a challenge,” says Bachelet. “It’s a necessity and an obligation.”

 – Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

Women’s empowerment in IndiaApproximately 270 million Indian people live in poverty, the highest proportion of them women and children. Despite centuries of oppression and social exclusion, women’s empowerment in India is the key to success in alleviating rural poverty throughout the nation. Studies have shown that the poorer the family, the more they rely on the women of their families for survival.

Women in the Workforce

Historically, Indian women have been tasked with collecting clean drinking water, fetching wood for cooking and ensuring other day-to-day tasks to keep their households running smoothly. A cultural shift has recently allowed more women to enter the workforce.

Indian women are proving to be absolutely essential for the future success of India’s growing economy. Many families depend on women’s earnings to keep them afloat and women have started turning to the agricultural sector for employment. Agriculture employs over 80 percent of India’s economically active women. As a result of more women turning to agriculture for work, the country’s agricultural wages have risen and the gap between male and female agricultural wage rates has shrunk.

The Creation of Self-Help Groups

Women’s empowerment in India has been a focus for the Indian government for a number of years. Across the country, self-help groups (SHGs) focused on empowering women have been introduced in rural communities. These groups are usually comprised of 10 to 20 local women from the targeted area. The goals of SHGs are specific to the community it serves, but generally are implemented with a focus toward training members in income-generating activities.

Success Stories of Women’s empowerment in India

In 1998, a small village in India’s north-eastern Jharkhand state was crippled with poverty. The village of Teliya was ridden with severe food insecurity and very little money. Today, Teliya is a thriving village producing year-round cash crops and selling other products to national markets. This transformation began with an SHG.

Teliya’s SHG was started by PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action), an India-based non-governmental organization. Funded by a New York-based social justice program, the Ford Foundation, PRADAN has focused on empowering India’s poor and has worked collaboratively with impoverished villages for the past 30 years.

The SHG implemented in Teliya encouraged women to save what money they could to start a community of resource sharing and investment making. Women in the area started contributing what little money they had over the course of a few months. After gaining new confidence, women in Teliya quickly became representatives for their community, unafraid to speak out for the rights of themselves and their families. Women’s empowerment in India has thus proven to be a success.

Teliya’s success story is similar to other SHGs. Most SHGs start out with a small number of women pooling their money to create savings for their community and to provide group loans to their other community members. PRADAN works as an outside supporter, giving the community or village the necessary tools to work from the ground up. The organization is currently working with villages in eight different states across India.

With the success of each SHG and organizations devoted to women’s empowerment in India, the number of people living in poverty steadily decreases. Continued progress toward gender equality will only serve to further improve the nation’s economic and social states.

– Sonja Flancher

Photo: Flickr

AfricaThe causes of poverty in Africa cannot be narrowed down to one single source. As a developing country, Africa has a lengthy history of external, internal and man-made forces at work to bring about the circumstances this continent suffers from today.

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 220 million people, half the population, live in poverty. Worsened by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, cultural conflict and ethnic cleansing, Africa faces many challenges that directly correlate with its impoverished status.

Poor Governance

Poor governance, one of the major causes of poverty in Africa, involves various malpractices by the state and its workers. This malpractice has led many African leaders to push away the needs of the people. Having created the “personal rule paradigm,” where they treat their offices as a form of property and personal gain, these leaders openly appoint underqualified personnel in key positions at state-owned institutions and government departments. This type of governance affects the poorest people and leaves them vulnerable, as they are denied basic necessities such as healthcare, food and shelter.

Corruption

Corruption has been and still is a major issue in the development of and fight against poverty in Africa, specifically sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). SSA is considered to be among the most corrupt places in the world. According to a survey conducted by World Anti-Corruption, corruption in Africa is “due to the fact that many people in Africa believe that family relations are more important than country identity. Therefore, those in power use bias and bribery for the gain of their relatives at the expense of their country.”

Corruption costs SSA roughly $150 billion a year in lost revenue. While some countries in Africa, such as Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda, have made some progress in the fight against corruption, there are still many lagging very far behind. A lack of effort to solve this issue only worsens the causes of poverty in Africa today.

Poor Education

Lack of education is also a serious issue that contributes to the causes of poverty in Africa. This absence is especially felt in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest rates of educational exclusion. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of about six and 11 are out of school, followed by one-third of youth between the ages of about 12 and 14. Almost 60 percent of youth between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school.

Education for girls has become a major focus of support groups like UNICEF, UNESCO and the UIS. With poor access to school, lack of sanitary facilities and social norms like female genital mutilation and child marriage, the right to women’s education is even less of a priority in impoverished communities.

However, education, especially girls’ education, has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective strategies for promoting economic growth. According to UNICEF, “studies have shown that educated mothers tend to have healthier, better-nourished babies and that their own children are more likely to attend school; thus helping break the vicious cycle of poverty.”

Healthcare

Poor healthcare is a major cause of poverty in Africa because the poor cannot afford to purchase what is needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and healthcare itself. With a lack of education on preventing infectious diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as the costs of consultations, tests and medicine, people living in poverty are at a severe disadvantage that only perpetuates the poverty cycle.

With a strong fight against many forces still ahead of this nation, Africa must weed out the corruption and poor government, and promote strong education and efficient healthcare for all, in order to take a big leap forward in its development as a continent.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in Tonga

Tonga is a country comprised of 170 islands in the South Pacific, located close to Fiji and American Samoa. The island nation has a relatively high unemployment rate. This, coupled with an economy largely dependent on agricultural means of making money, has led to the creation of various development projects in Tonga. In recent years, these projects have improved stability in different aspects of the country.

Education

In 2012, the Peace Corps began a development project in Tonga designed to teach English as a foreign language. Aside from teaching English, the project’s larger goals are to improve the Tongan education system through the utilization of more computers and other technology. It also assists Tongan teachers in discovering new methods of teaching that are more student-centred. In addition, the project focuses on helping students develop healthy lifestyle habits. These lifestyle lessons are taught as part of the English language curriculum.

Growth Development

One of the more recent development projects in Tonga began in April 2017. The World Bank approved $5 million for policy reforms in the island nation. According to a press release on the World Bank website, these reforms aim to “improve the management of public finances, boost government accountability and encourage a more dynamic and inclusive economy.”

Climate Change

In 2013, the Asian Development Bank launched the Climate Resilience Sector Project in Tonga. This projects helps strengthen the country in the face of increasingly dangerous threats from climate change. The project finances low cost solutions which are executed at the local community level. Aside from this, the Asian Development Bank is also working with the Tongan government to create more renewable energy. By 2020, Tonga hopes to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

Environmental Protection

In July 2014, the United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Office in Fiji created a project with the intention of protecting the ecosystem of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment on Tongatapu Island. The project’s three main goals are to improve management of the lagoon, introduce an environmental management plan and educate local communities and national stakeholders about the role of the lagoon ecosystem and the benefits of protecting it.

Improved Healthcare System

The Australia-Tonga Aid Partnership, created in 2016, is a project where the Australian government provides funding each year to assist development projects in Tonga. Just last year, Tonga received around $30.4 million in aid from Australia. In particular, one of the projects that utilizes this funding is the Tonga Health System Support Program.

Phase One of the program began in 2009. Following this, Phase Two of the program started in March 2015. The objectives of the program are to stop the progression of noncommunicable diseases, generally advance health care services across the nation, provide enhanced mental health services, improve gender equality and provide access to universal health care.

Tonga has begun to experience a flourishing tourism industry that is becoming a main source of income for the nation. As a result of these five development projects in Tonga, the country can maintain economic, environmental and social stability as it continues to progress.

The support from these organizations will help Tonga combat increasing environmental risks that the country will face from climate change. Through these programs, Tonga will only continue to grow and further advance their infrastructure.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr