The Office of the Ombudsman of Tonga introduced a new initiative to better facilitate easier public access to the services of the Ombudsman. Six mobile outreach programs (MOPs) covered the smaller villages of Tongatapu not commonly present in previous district outreaches.
About 25 villages on all districts of Tongatapu have received the weekly mobile drives and engaged with various members of the public including women while making tapa or weaving, primary and secondary school students, youth, construction workers and those working in their plantations.
There was no gathering in halls or in groups. Instead, the 4-member outreach team used an office shuttle as the hub for recording complaints, meeting and explaining to visitors about the Ombudsman’s services and attend to other queries. The shuttle OMB-4 parks along the road side at various points and waits for people to come forward. The office cooperates with district and town officers as well as village church leaders who accepted Ombudsman brochures to be distributed to their members.
Public notices specifically to villages covered every week are sent out over the radios notifying the people the date and time for each village. Favourable responses with queries were received during the mobile outreach programs.
A total of 14 outreaches were carried out during the quarter – six mobile OPs, three radio talk-back programs/felafoaki and five OPs as part of the REACH Mission in ‘Eua. Several complaints and queries were filed from ‘Eua, an indication that community outreach programs facilitate easier access of the public to file complaints. Various activities of the office were updated on Facebook especially mobile outreach programs, staff of the months and good governance information.
Source: Office of the Ombudsman, Tonga