One of the biggest changes in the Civil Society Forum of Tonga is what has transpired in the leadership structure, says Tongan representative Emeline Siale Ilolahi.
“Leadership is no longer dominated by the royalty and nobility; anyone can be a leader,” Ms Ilolahi said.
Ms Ilolahi was speaking as the Tongan representative at the consultation of the sub-regional CSO Partnership on Effective Leadership that was held in Nadi last week. Ms Ilolahi, who is the Executive Director of the CSFT was the last of the 12 representative who gave reports of their NGO/CSO at the consultation.
Two National Liaison Units shared new developments in procuring buildings for their work which would help them in the long term.
Samoa’s Raymond Voigt said the Samoan Umbrella of NGOs (SUNGO) moved into their new building this year which was opened by Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
Mr Voigt said SUNGO had been struggling and saving for several years before moving into their new building on a one acre piece of property purchased for $430,000.
President of Development Services Exchange Timothy Lafuia said they had started construction on their new building complex this year.
“This would be an opportunity for them to generate income via rental of office space to its members (in Honiara),” Mr Lafuia said.
Cook Islands representative Ngara Katuke shared the good news that a Government official had shared with her before her trip to Nadi that the Cook Islands Civil Society Organisation (CICSO) would be provided an office in Rarotonga.
Ms Katuke said the organisation had struggled after their failure in 2009 when the government pulled out their support but was beginning to breathe new life this year with the grant of $13,000 for village consultations for developments possibilities.
Ms Katuke also brought greetings from Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown.
Papua New Guinea representative Susan Setae said the keel had evened out recently but CSOs struggled during the political impasse from 2011-2012.
“There were two PMs, two police commissioners, two army chiefs which was very hard,” MS Setae said.
CSOs had to choose between the two rival parties trying to outwit each other in taking over the government, she said.
PIANGO Executive Director Emele Duituturaga said the words coming through the reports were community, sustainability, fragmentation, different rights; human, fisherman and animal rights; enabling environments, rapid technological changes; importance to communicate; endless fundraising; Solomons, Samoa have their own buildings; communicating, networking; learning practice.