Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A visit to Tonga

Tonga is an archipelago of 129 islands with a population of just over 100,000 people. It's one of the more developed countries in the Pacific, boasting one of the best literacy and life expectancy rates in the region. That said, limited resources and opportunities, and a vulnerability to natural disasters means that hardship still exists. This year NZAID has an allocation of NZD $10 million to spend on the region. So what are the priorities? What impact is this funding having?

On Sunday I'm heading over to Tonga to find out.

Here's a run down of what I expect to see....

In November 2006, pro democracy riots destroyed the entire central business district of Nuku'alofa's ... leaving thousands of people without jobs and much needed income. Earlier this year the New Zealand government announced a $2 million business recovery package. While it will be too early to see any results, I'm hoping to make some useful contacts that will allow me to get a feel for the current situation and find out whether people are hopeful for the future.

And while I am there, I'll also have the opportunity to visit a number of NZAID funded projects including a solar electrification project, a water quality improvement project and even the Popua dump as well as schools and the local hospital - hopefully giving me a good understanding of the issues facing the people of Tonga today.

It's going to be a busy week so watch this space.



Blogger Matt said...

Great to hear the blog is up and running again.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Mark McGrath said...

Hi - I would like to hear what you found out from your trip to Tonga. I have just returned from there (Aug.23 2007)and keen to hear your comments...

3:31 PM  

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