Nuku'alofa, Tonga - Seventeen communities in the Kingdom of Tonga have benefitted from the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) community outreach program that reaches those farthest behind.
The REACH pilot initiative provided more than 2,700 government services during its 10-day mobile service delivery program, reaching 17 communities in Tongatapu and ‘Eua Islands.
Hon. Sione Vuna Fa’otusia, Minister for Justice presented the results of the pilot programme in Tonga at the REACH Lessons Learned Workshop on Thursday 23 May in Nuku’alofa.
Through the REACH pilot initiative, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women support the Government of Tonga to achieve the Tonga Strategic Development Plan 2015-25 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on Goal 5, which is a commitment to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls; and Goal 16, which is a commitment to promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
The REACH mobile service delivery was organized in two sessions in the communities: firstly an awareness raising information session for all residents to attend, which was followed by personalised service delivery session where each community member could seek help accessing specific services.
Through the REACH awareness raising sessions, 575 community members (307 women, 206 men and 62 children) increased their awareness on citizens’ rights and gender equality.
For service delivery, 2,715 services were personally provided to people living in remote and rural communities. This included 1,683 services provided to women, 1,005 to men, 23 to children and four to persons with disabilities.
The services included registration, licensing and information for development of small businesses and cooperatives by the Ministries of Trade and Economic Development; the issue of National Identification Cards by the Palace Office; registration of women’s groups, applications for community grants and family protection trust fund by the Ministry for Internal Affairs; certification of documents and other legal aid services including free legal advice and counseling for domestic violence survivors by the Ministry of Justice. People also took advantage of the services given by the Office of the Ombudsman to formally lodge their complaints against delays in certain services provided by the government agencies earlier.
Hon. Sione Vuna Fa’otusia, Minister for Justice said, “The REACH pilot initiative provided an integrated platform which brought key government agencies together. The Ministry of Justice amongst other Ministries and institutions, has been a committed partner to the REACH pilot and had delivered very important services to the rural communities at Hala Liku and Lapaha, and at the outer island of ‘Eua.”
The new adaptation and pilot of the REACH mobile service delivery has been led by the Government of Tonga with support from the UNDP and UN Women.
At the two-day workshop, government officials and other partners who conducted the REACH mobile service delivery including officers from UN Women and UNDP evaluated the implementation, shared good practice and challenges, and discussed future innovative approaches for improved delivery of services to rural and remote areas.
The REACH mobile service delivery pilot initiative aims to enhance citizen access to justice, government and women’s services for rural, maritime and otherwise remote areas in Tonga and Samoa. This is achieved through an integration of services to facilitate start to finish delivery by service providers in remote areas, with the focus on reaching the furthest behind first.
For general media queries about REACH, please contact:
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
tel. +679 331 2500;
Jacqui Berrell, UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office; email: email@example.com;
tel. +679 330 1178 ext. 125