24 Nov 2011

Tonga communities involved in World Bank aid spend

2:33 pm on 24 November 2011

Economically hard hit communities in Tonga will have a say in how aid assistance from the World Bank is used.

The Bank is providing Tonga with a grant of nine million US dollars because it is one of the countries hardest hit by the economic crisis.

A senior World Bank economist, Virginia Horscroft, says the critical factor in this is the dramatic slump in remittances from Tongans overseas.

Ms Horscroft says this means one in five Tongans is now struggling to make ends meet.

She says part of the grant will go towards employment creation with the communities worst affected by the crisis asked to come up with projects that would have a lasting benefit.

"Any project that the community thinks is a sort of priority area for it and then what the scheme will do is provide grants funding so that the community can not only afford materials it needs to conduct the project, but also pay a basic wage to enable those who are poorest to participate."

The World Bank's Virginia Horscroft says up to 30,000 people are set to benefit from the scheme.