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Habitat for Humanity announces expansion of local shelter programmes into Tonga

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Habitat for Humanity New Zealand has formed new pilot partnerships with two local organisations in the Kingdom of Tonga to continue shelter trainings that will build resilience for diverse communities and empower young women to become leaders in their communities.

The pilot partnership with Live and Learn, and the Talitha Project in Tonga is an expansion of the shelter programming Habitat has been delivering in Tonga for the past eight years. Most recently it has completed building eight new homes for families displaced by the January 2022 volcanic eruption and tsunami, with the final keys being handed over in the second half of 2023.

“Habitat New Zealand is proud to announce our new relationships in Tonga and excited for the opportunities this will open for communities across the country,” says Alan Thorp, Group Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand.

“The New Zealand public can be proud that their support is going to expand opportunities for young Tongan women and strengthen housing resilience,” adds Mr Thorp.

The Talitha Project has operated in Tonga since 2009. Their work aims to empower young girls to make informed decisions through informal education, life skills and development programmes and provides tools to their families to support income opportunities.

Live and Learn Tonga has existing programmes in Tonga to improve access to decent living conditions with a focus on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and training in communities. Under the MFAT funded Climate Resilient Islands programme, Live and Learn is also working to strengthen community resilience to the impacts of climate change through nature-based approaches.

Habitat will support the existing programmes of both the Talitha Project and Live and Learn Tonga to increase capacity with a focus on youth. It will implement shelter programmes such as Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) and Build Back Safer (BBS) trainings that have been running in Samoa and Fiji for more than five years, with more than 300 participants across 15 communities in the past l 12 months. Youth PASSA training will also be run from a new Youth Hub that is being established on Tongatapu, supporting young people to take on leadership roles and be actively involved in improving housing and shelter in their communities.

Both BBS and PASSA trainings are locally led and teach skills including risk reduction, home maintenance, financial literacy, and community project management skills that are then put into practice with a grant-funded community project. These programmes are delivered under the five-year Negotiated Partnerships (NP) programme funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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