Caritas is assisting people to improve their own livelihoods and adapt to the effects of climate change in Tonga. We have been working with Caritas Tonga since 1999.
Promoting Micro-enterprise and Socio-Economic Development
This project has been successful in helping people increase their family incomes by working in small groups of 8 or more members. Activities include, tapa cloth making (13 groups), piggery (9 groups), mat weaving (6 groups), kava planting (6 groups), mulberry planting (2 groups), chicken raising (2 groups), sewing (2 groups), peanut farming (1 group), yam planting (1 group) and fishing (1 group). Caritas provides funds for loans to set up microenterprise activities that help get these groups up and running.
A total of NZ$215,703 has been distributed as loans to these groups by Caritas Tonga who are administering the project. Loans are repaid in monthly instalments when community-based officers visit each group, and these funds are then used to provide loans to other groups. Caritas supports this project with financial help from the Government’s New Zealand Aid Programme.
Climate Change Officer Project
We are supporting a Caritas Tonga Climate Change Officer, Amelia Ma'afu. Her work is focused on the low lying island of Ha'apai, where drought, coastal erosion, water salination, soil degradation and changing weather patterns are already impacting communities. Amelia spoke at the launch of our Pacific Environment Report on St Francis Day in Auckland in 2014. She also attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru where she was able to use the Caritas report to highlight environmental concerns in Tonga and across Oceania.
The main responsibilities of the Climate Change Officer include: visiting communities to gather data and knowledge of local and traditional methods for dealing with climate change; conducting training to raise awareness of climate change; researching methods of adaptation and mitigation and developing an action plan with the communities, local and national government authorities and civil society to respond to climate change and build resilience.