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Ma’a Fafine and Famili Organisation launches report following Children’s Taskforce survey

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 30/10/2018

The Prime Minister and The Bishop of the Catholic Church Diocese of Tonga and Niue were present at a special program yesterday to mark the launching of a report from the Ma’a Fafine mo e Famili Organisation.

This report was compiled following a survey by the Children’s Taskforce which was established in January earlier this year by the Ma’a Fafine mo e Famili Organisation. Students from several schools around Tongatapu as well as representatives from other organisation and the MInistry of Internal Affairs, make up this taskforce.

The report was based on a survey carried out by the taskforce on The Experiences and Needs of Children, Including Children Living with Disabilities, Living in Tonga. Melenaite Blake further elaborated on the survey carried out and the final report.

“Children and young people under the age of 18 are considered vulnerable in research ethics in government terms. Because of this, and the sensitive nature of the research, which included questions about children and young people’s experiences of violence, bullying, corporate punishment, as well as about their personal health and well-being.”

“Qualitative methods were adopted in the study. These included interview methods using semi-structure questions and ethno-graphic observations in the home. In total, 20 children and young people were interviewed. 20 parents, carers, including grandparents and 20 ethno-graphic observations took place. … The data were collected across urban and rural Tonga, the main island of Tongatapu and the other island groups of Vava’u, Ha’apai, ‘Eua and the two Niuas.”

Blake added, “This report includes a number of relevant and insightful extracts from observations which provides valuable contractual insights into Tongan cultural and family life. The aim was to ensure the views and perspective of children and young people themselves were included in the report and that this would be used directly to inform both the discussion and the recommendations.”

“With respect to the conclusions and recommendations from this research, it is intended that the quality of data produced from this small scale in-depth study, and the critical issues addressed, will be used by our Tongan government and other organizations to effect change. That is, to formulate and implement new public policies that will help improve the lives of Tongan children and their families with a focus on child protection, children’s health and well-being, and the way in which education is delivered across the island.”

In his address, the prime minister thanked the taskforce for their report and acknowledged the importance of the issues raised by the taskforce saying the government would take urgent action to try and resolve these issues.

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