The FINANCIAL — Tongan businesses and government agencies have embraced an opportunity to build the leadership potential of their female staff through participation in an Asian Development Bank (ADB) international training and mentoring project.
The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour; Tonga Power; Pacific Retail Ltd, and ANZ Bank are some of the Tongan entities that have encouraged their women employees to join the project, which is being implemented by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI). The project’s 17 participants met today in Nuku’alofa at the first of three, 2-day training workshops to be held over the coming 12 months, according to ADB.
“This pilot project will demonstrate an approach to getting more women into the private sector and into leadership roles,” said Vijaya Nagarajan, PSDI’s Gender Specialist. “We are thrilled with the response from Tongan employers, many of which not only supported their employees’ participation but are contributing to the overall costs of the project.”
The Tongan employers have also committed to help participants apply and pass on in the workplace what they learn in the course, thereby fostering cultural change and encouraging women’s professional advancement.
Along with the workshops and complementary online sessions, the participants will be paired with mentors working in leadership positions in Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and elsewhere in the Pacific, who will provide advice and insight throughout the project. While the training aims to make participants more ambitious, capable and confident, it is hoped the mentoring network will also help build inter-country business relationships.
Other Tongan organizations with employees taking part in the project include the Ministry of Revenue and Customs, Tonga Airports, Tonga Development Bank, and Bank South Pacific.
PSDI is working with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the Government of New Zealand and ADB.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.