11 - 12 April 2012, Suva
A workshop organized by Project DIREKT and USP Tonga last week (11th to 12th April) captured national headlines, and was received with rapturous enthusiasm by all sectors of the Tongan community. The workshop, which was opened by Tonga's Prime Minister, Honorable Lord Tu'ivakano, was televised live to the nation. This was followed by an extensive coverage in the evening news.
An important fringe benefit of this renewable energy capacity-building and networking workshop was that it introduced for the first time the contents of the Tonga Energy Roadmap (TERM) to the Tongan public. Dubbed as "Tonga's best kept secret" by the Minister for Lands and Environment, Lord Ma'afu, the detailed aims and objectives of this ten-year development plan had hitherto not been revealed to the Tongan general public. The workshop was instrumental in bringing the special implementation unit of the roadmap (TERM-IU), led by Interim Director 'Akau'ola, face to face with a large cross-section of the public for the first time.
This was Project DIREKT's 5th capacity-building and networking workshop, the last being held at USP on 12 March this year. It was hosted by the USP Tonga Campus. Campus Director Dr. 'Ana Koloto said the relevance of this renewable energy workshop to their own communities and sectors became clearly evident to the participants as they sat through the talks of Day 1.
These ranged from a basic renewable energy awareness course to specialized talks on the design and economics of solar PV systems, wind energy analysis, grid-connected PV systems and energy efficiency. She added that the workshop demonstrated to the development partners USP's ability to organize workshops of relevance to the various community sectors of Tonga, which were represented by members of Civil Society, private sector organizations and a large contingent of District Officers representing the Tongan population.
Participants were invited to a TERM-IU organized dinner/cocktail event during the evening of Day 1. The occasion boasted the presence of several dignitaries and high government officials, including the Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano. Project DIREKT Supervisor Dr. Anirudh Singh had the privilege of sharing the head table with the Prime Minister, and discussing several renewable energy issues of interest to Tonga and the region.
Day 2 of the workshop was opened by Interim Director 'Akau'ola. Presentations were made by Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (REEEP) and World Bank members who talked about the nature and content of TERM. The audience expressed it gratitude and appreciation at being made better aware of the aims and objectives of the Roadmap.
A special spin-off of the workshop was the undertaking by the TERM Interim Director to support USP Tonga in organizing a series of similar workshops in the near future throughout Tonga.
The workshop ended with a panel discussion on "The Role of USP in Human and Other Capacity Building for TERM", followed by presentations of Certificates of Achievement to the participants.