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Monday, April 21, 2014

PREL gets grant to raise ‘water literacy’ in the Pacific

HONOLULU, Hawaii—Pacific Resources for Education and Learning has received a new multi-year, multimillion dollar grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Informal Science Education: Water for Life: Community Education for Water Conservation and Rainwater Harvesting in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (Water for Life).

The five-year project will create and implement an engaging Informal Science Education program for youth and adults with powerful professional development and community service learning components to meet two challenges faced by rural residents of four Pacific island entities in the Freely Associated States: (1) infrastructure to nurture and promote informal science education learning and (2) fresh water scarcity.

Water for Life will address these challenges by helping FAS individuals and organizations build ISE capacity through developing locally-relevant, broad-based, self-sustaining “water literacy.” Extended, in-depth Water for Life learning programs in each of the four entities will provide professional development to community leaders and educators, and will also promote and foster broad ISE and community-based, water-related, service-learning projects, along with stewardship, monitoring, and conservation.

Principal investigators Dr. Ethan Allen (PREL) and Dr. Danko Taborosi (Island Research & Education Initiative) anticipate that Water for Life will foster robust informal science learning around the topic of water among FAS leaders, professionals, community members, and youth, while facilitating learning, networking, and interactions among FAS stakeholders in education, health, and community development.

“This grant is a great opportunity to simultaneously foster capacity-building in the Pacific Islands around both a near-term, pressing need—how to meet the growing demands for drinking water via rainwater catchment in these islands with swelling populations and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns—and, a longer-term, critical mandate—how to build the broad-based STEM literacy required to thrive in the 21st century,” said Allen, PREL’s director of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

This award adds to PREL’s portfolio of STEM research, programming, and evaluation.

PREL is an independent, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Hawaii, with offices in American Sāmoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. (PREL)

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