ADB and Japan Helping the Elderly in Tonga

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan are assisting the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga develop and implement a country-led social development policy targeting vulnerable groups.

The Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific Project, funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction through ADB, is helping the governments of Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga pilot social assistance programs that can be developed into national policies and effective social safety net measures. In Tonga, the government will contract nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to provide social services for the elderly and the disabled.

A signing ceremony was held in the capital Nuku’alofa today to formalize the agreement between the government and one of two NGOs involved in implementing the Tonga part of the project. Ma’a Fafine Moe Famili will be using their grant to deliver social services to the eligible elderly on the island of Ha’apai and rural outer areas of Tongatapu. The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Lisiate 'Aloveita 'Akolo and Betty Blake from NGO, Ma'a Fafine Moe Famili participated in the ceremony. Siosaia Faletau, ADB’s Development Coordinator in Tonga witnessed the ceremony.

Under the project, Ma’a Fafine Moe Famili will work with the government to ensure that the special needs of the most vulnerable elderly citizens are met. The scope of the services to the elderly will include home care services, health promotion visits, and advisory and case management services on care/medical needs.

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction grant assistance for the entire project is being split three ways with the Cook Islands getting $900,000, the Marshall Islands $1.2 million, and Tonga $900,000. ADB is providing $150,000 in regional technical assistance, the three governments will make an in-kind contribution of $300,000 equivalent, and target communities will extend in-kind support of $75,000, for a total estimated project cost of $3.525 million.