The Ma’a Fafine mo e Famili (MFF) is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) which was formally established on the 15th April 2008. The organisation has evolved out of the highly successful Legal Literacy Project (LLP) of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) which began in 1997 and ended in 2008. The project with the CWL ended with the Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) in Suva Fiji when the funding for the project came to an end and the RRRT moved under SPC. MFF retains the organisational headquarters and staff of the LLP who over the last decade have established themselves at the foremost providers of the legal and human rights education, advocacy and empowerment, particularly to women and children in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Since the establishment of MFF in 2008, the organisation has not been successful in all its efforts to engage core funding or operation cost of the organisation never-the-less, the organisation survives through the projects that are awarded by donor agencies. The four staff members who manage the day to day operation of the organisation are on voluntary base.
To foster and promote a just and peaceful society through the empowerment of women’s knowledge of their Human Rights thus improving their economic, social and political knowledge, skills and status in the society. This can be achieved through economically, socially and politically sound deliverable goals and services.
MFF has identified some goals to work toward and they are:
- To empower women through Human Rights awareness programs;
- To promote, independence, credibility and transparency as cornerstones to the promotion of women and family’s human rights in the Kingdom of Tonga;
- The organisation will seek to foster and promote all human rights human development issues concerning minority groups such as women, children and youth through research, education and the dissemination of information to all people and for the protection and promotion of their rights;
- The organisation will, in all its capacity lobby government for the formulation of policies and Acts dealing directly with Violence Against Women;
- The organisation will continue to provide legal advice and counselling to women and families in crisis;
- The organisation will lobby for the change and amendments of Acts which violate the human rights of women and families such as the Tonga Public Health Act 1992 which criminalises people suffering from HIV/AIDS;
- The organisation will continue to lobby for the ratification of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Tonga.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The Objects of the Society as presented in the organisation’s Constitution are:
- To act as a development and not-for-profit non-government organisation;
- To advance the development of socially and economically just, equitable, safe and a peaceful society;
- To promote Constitutional rights, the rule of law, access to justice and good governance through training, advocacy, public education, capacity building, research and consultancies;
- To provide legal and technical advice to civil society on the ratification of conventions, and formulation of gender, fundamental rights and social policies;
- To work in partnership with regional, bilateral and multilateral development organisations to promote sustainable development to improve the well being and livelihood of all people; and
- To further promote the human rights of the youth and all Tongans through human development initiatives such as civic education and teaching English for students who need to pass the International English Learning Testing System (IELTS) test.
*NB: the IELTS test is now a requirement and prerequisite for all students who wish to study in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some in the United States. The MFF is the only institution which offers this test in Tonga and according to Auckland University, we are the first.
MFF provides services to all members of the community throughout the Kingdom of Tonga under the broad vision of developing a socially just and peaceful society based on the principles of good governance, democracy and human rights. MFF delivers a range of services including workshops; community research and human rights monitoring; forging stakeholder links and building partnerships; the provision of counselling and victim support and in general terms, human development.
MFF focuses its work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).