Save the Children to support children’s education in Tonga
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Signing ceremony between Save the Children Australia and GPE
Signing ceremony between Save the Children Australia and GPE.

Nuku’alofa, April 7, 2022 – Save the Children Australia is proud to be working in partnership with the Government of Tonga’s Ministry of Education and Training (MET) and the Global Partnership for Education to help secure the future of Tongan children impacted by compounding crises.

Save the Children Australia will work with the Government of Tonga to deliver more than TOP 2.5 million (AUD 1.5m) in programs to strengthen the education system and increase access to quality education for children.

The Honourable Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon Hu’akavameiliku, in his capacity as the Minister for Education and Training, and Hon. Tatafu Moeaki, the Minister for Finance, Revenue & Customs, signed the grant funding agreement with Ms. Malmee Weerasiri, Save the Children Australia Regional Operations Director to the Pacific.

The signing ceremony took place at the Minister’s Office in Nuku’alofa. The CEO of the Ministry of Education, Dr Tangikina Steen was present, as well as the Counsellor and Program Manager from the Australian High Commission.

The CEO of the Ministry of Education and Training, Dr. Tangikina Steen, expressed her gratitude for the funding, which has come at a critical time in Tonga’s recovery.

“This assistance will strengthen our education sector for generations to come, as well as providing immediate, direct assistance to the families and children who need it most.”

Save the Children’s Pacific Director of Operations, Malmee Weerasiri, said the project will support children in Tonga to recover from the volcanic eruption, tsunami and rolling COVID-19 lockdowns.

“In any crisis, children are always the most vulnerable. A compounding disaster like this one can severely affect their physical safety and emotional wellbeing,” she said.

“Our staff in Nuku’alofa are committed to working with the Ministry of Education to make sure children get the support and protection they need during this time – and long after the crises are over.”

Charles North, Acting CEO of the Global Partnership for Education said:

“GPE’s support to strengthen education planning comes at a critical time. As Tonga’s education system is beset by compounding crises, improved coordination and dialogue will help strengthen resilience, spark transformative change and improve education for all of Tonga’s children.”

As the Grant Agent for Tonga Accelerated Resilience Program (TARP) and now the System Capacity Grant Project, Save the Children Australia will work with implementing partner, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as the Coordinating Agency Australian High Commission. Together, the partners will build a new education development plan, thanks to more than TOP 1.6 million (AUD 1M) in funding from the Global Partnership for Education.

The project will be led by the Ministry of Education and Training and supported by Tonga’s first ever Local Education Group (LEG), which brings together the voices of key education stakeholders to make sure every Tongan child receives a quality and inclusive education.

A further TOP 842,000 (AUD 500,000) fundraised by Save the Children will be spent on delivering high-quality education to children following the recent crises, in support of the MET and Education Cluster’s Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai Volcanic Eruption, Tsunami and Covid-19 Response Plan.

The assistance will provide children and schools with temporary learning centers, play kits, learning resources and personal protective equipment. Children will be supported with online and remote learning resources, and a safe return to school once restrictions are lifted.

A newly formed Project Management and Aid Coordination Unit within the Ministry of Education and Training will work together with the Project Management Unit specifically set up for the System Capacity Grant to implement the funding and assist vulnerable children and families.

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Media contacts:

  • Save the Children Australia: Mala Darmadi or @email
  • Ministry of Education and Training: Kalolaine Moeaki @email
  • Australian High Commission: Kepreen A Veetutu. @email
  • Global Partnership for Education: Tamara Kummer @email

Notes to editors:

Save the Children Australia and the Ministry of Education and Training have delivered the recently concluded Tonga Accelerated Resilience Program (TARP), funded by the Global Partnership for Education. Together, the partners developed a draft policy framework for disaster preparedness as Flexible and distance learning guides for students, parents, and carers were developed, as well as prepared lessons for children to use during lockdowns and school closures.

About the Global Partnership for Education (GPE):

GPE is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. GPE partners and funds to support 76 lower-income countries to transform their education systems so that every girl and boy can get the quality education they need to unlock their full potential and contribute to building a better world.

Signing ceremony between Save the Children Australia and GPE
Signing ceremony between Save the Children Australia and GPE.
East Asia and Pacific: Australia, Tonga

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