EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE 16th October 2020
Local civil society groups sign MoU affirming solidarity in supporting government commitments to gender equality and participation and empowerment of women and girls in Tonga
The Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Pohiva Tui’onetoa officiated at the launch and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of FI-E-FI-A ’a Fafine Tonga (FFFT) at the Epworth Hall, Friday 16th October 2020.
FI-E-FI-A ’a Fafine Tonga, formerly known as the Women in Leadership Coalition was renamed to reflect their solidarity in promoting the active participation of women and girls in all levels and areas of political, economic, cultural, private and public life. The signing of the MoU by the members endorses their unity on common principles, goals and values which will help manage competing priorities and ensure that they work collaboratively to progress and achieve the purpose of FFFT.
When officially launching the FFFT, Honourable Tui’onetoa said, “ I acknowledge the work the Chair and the women coalition have been doing to promote the rights of women and girls and I am embarrassed to hear that the number of domestic violence has increased during the lockdown period and we must do something to address this…”
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, all members of the FFFT agree to work together with other relevant stakeholders to honour, respect and support the government’s international, regional and national commitments towards gender equality and empowering women and girls through the National Policy on Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Tonga (WEGET) and under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.
More recently, FFFT under its former name of the Women in Leadership Coalition was instrumental in supporting and representing the voices of 564 women from the Informal Sector who were impacted by the COVID19 lockdown to access government’s grant in response to COVID19. The group is looking to continuing to promote women’s full participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, cultural, private and public life.
FI-E-FI-A ’a Fafine Tonga comprises 6 representatives of organisations and associations working in the gender and development sector. Mrs Betty Blake, Chair of the FFFT highlighted that membership for FFFT is open and invited women’s groups and individual women who support the purpose, values and goals of FI-E-FI-A ’a Fafine Tonga to join the network.
The FI-E-FI-A ’a Fafine Tonga acknowledges the Balance of Power Tonga Country Program in facilitating and supporting FFFT’s work. Balance of Power is an initiative of the Australian Government-funded Pacific Women program.
For further information, please contact,
Keasi T. Pongi
Executive Director – Civil Society Forum of Tonga
Baron Rd, Vaiola Motu’a Premises
Phone: (676) 28282 / (676) 28140