Tonga

Tonga flag

Projects in Tonga

Education

Right now is a pivotal moment to serve in Tonga and Peace Corps Volunteers will have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on students, teachers, and their communities. The country is going through immense educational transformations amongst a renewed global focus on the Pacific and the impacts of the pandemic. The Ministry of Education and Training and Peace Corps have built a strong partnership focused on improving education outcomes. English is a national priority and Peace Corps a close development partner working to increase student achievement.

The English Language Development Project focuses on improving student achievement in English to help them gain access to academic and professional opportunities. Moreover, the project promotes inclusive and equitable education and, through enhancing interactive teaching practices, aims to address the need to develop students into lifelong learners.

As English Language Teachers and Facilitators, Volunteers play multiple roles during their service in English language development:

1) Collaborative Capacity Building with Teachers

Volunteers work with local teachers to increase their capacity in general- and English-teaching skills. Volunteers facilitate discussions and sessions on strategies and tips. They identify best practices and areas for improvements in student-centered teaching methods, lesson planning, assessments, and inclusive education. Supporting these foundations, Volunteers engage in model teaching, mutual peer observations, developing learning materials, and bridging the English language capacity of teachers in the classroom.

2) Improving Student Achievement in English

Volunteers teach oral and written English primarily to elementary-level students in a classroom setting. They organize and facilitate extracurricular activities and events to improve language skills and proficiency via: direct teaching, pull-out groups, tutoring, and extra-curricular classes, events, clubs and camps such as drama, art, sports, reading, and other recreational activities.

3) Learning Environment and Community

Volunteers co-plan and co-facilitate activities that increase the ability of community members to support students’ access to learning. Activities include school fundraisers, contests, event planning, and home visits to involve parents in their children’s education and encourage parents to make time for continual learning.

Volunteers also engage in community development work to mobilize local leaders in the community and address community needs through local resources. Volunteers are trained to utilize participatory tools in a phased approach to cooperative and collective community action. Community activities may include:

  1. Facilitating youth camps or clubs on life skills development and leadership.
  2. Organizing and facilitating school-led improvement projects related to library/learning center development and management.
  3. Organizing and facilitating community-led projects related to environmental awareness and resilience and disaster risk reduction.

Moreover, Volunteers take part in Tongan and American cultural exchange. Cultural understanding and intercultural engagement are key competencies to a successful Peace Corps service and not only enrich the collaboration between the Volunteer and partners but ensure a more sustainable impact.


Environment

Tonga is one of the world’s most exposed countries to climate change and natural disasters, consistently receiving world risk rankings in the top three with particular exposer and vulnerability to cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, volanic eruptions, and droughts. The effects of climate change will most likely exacerbate these issues and result in more variability in risk management. The increasing intensity and variability of natural disasters in the region make every subsequent disaster or humanitarian emergency more complex. According to Tonga’s Joinr National Action Plan 2, “Climate Change exacerbates the magnitude and impacts of climate variability and climate related natural hazards” (JNAP2). Local communities are at the frontlines of these climate change impacts and striving to be more climat resilient. Tonga has taken greater measures to prioritize the roles of communities in developing and implementing their own climate adaptation and resilience plans; however, communities are in great need of material resources, knowledge, guidance, and support. Peace Corps Environment Volunteers will be community-based and engaging with community members to build the climate adaption and resilience capacity of communities around Tonga.

Volunteers will play multiple roles during their service. Volunteers and their partners will be trained to utilize participatory tools in a phased, asset-based approach to uncover existing strengths, advantages, and opportunities:

Increasing knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the environment, climate change, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

Volunteers co-design and co-develop environmental, climate change, and DRR and preparedness education resources; co-train, co-teach, and co-facilitate environmental education lessons in schools and communities that increase knowledge of local climate change impacts, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, and environmental appreciation and conservation; and co-plan and co-facilitate environmental education clubs and camps.

Assessing and action planning for community-specific climate risks

Volunteers co-facilitate equitable and inclusive community-level climate impact risk assessments, co-creating action plans for community-level adaptation and mitigation aligned with national action plans and local community development plans, and co-training community members on climate change risk management.

Strengthening community-level climate change adaptation and mitigation measures

Volunteers co-implement adaptation and mitigation measures including guiding communities and schools on best practices for waste management, implementing sustainable water improvement practices; supporting best practices for environmental conservation; co-facilitating youth camps, clubs, and community workshops focused on leadership skills and project planning.