WASHINGTON, D.C.—Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina today announced $360,115 in grant assistance under the Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program to engage youth and provide hemodialysis training in American Samoa; bolster food security and nutrition in Ebeye and Pohnpei; assess proposed powerplant facilities in Chuuk and boost student retention, student success and student graduation rates at the College of Micronesia.
“We received many more applications than we were able to fund this year, but I am pleased by the quality and innovation of the funding proposals we have received from the insular areas,” said Assistant Secretary Esther Kia’aina. “Strengthening youth, collaborating with NGO’s, building food security, health training and energy assessments are all important programs geared towards helping the people.”
Boys and Girls Club (American Samoa)—$50,000 to support the American Samoa Youth Climate Change Initiative to create public awareness on the impact of climate change and promote education and advocacy amongst American Samoa’s youth. The goal is to educate youth about climate change issues using methods that increase their knowledge and skills in the subject matter, and to develop an educational marketing tool through popular social networking strategies. The group would like to serve as an online resource center on climate change issues students in American Samoa and the Pacific region.
LBJ Tropical Medical Center Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technicians Training (American Samoa)—$48,082 to support training for technicians at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center. Staff members within the End Stage Renal Disease Unit (ESRD) will become certified clinical hemodialysis technicians. The ESRD unit is expanding from 21 to 37 beds, which requires a higher number of their staff be certified technicians, in order for the patients to receive quality care while receiving dialysis.
Pacific Wellness Centers, Inc. Kwajalein Atoll Sustainable Food Security Program (Republic of the Marshall Islands)—$75,013 to support the Kwajalein Atoll Sustainable Food Security Program designed to establish a research and production center that will provide traditional local foods to the island of Ebeye, while at the same time serving as a model and training ground for the 66 other communities in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The project will establish a tree plantation on Bikej Island with banana, papaya, breadfruit, pandanus, and coconut tree crops, as well as serve as a nursery to provide planting stock for other islands.
Island Food Community of Pohnpei (Federated States of Micronesia—$26,360 to support a milling and food processing facility for preparing local taro and breadfruit food crops for preservation, home use and for sale. This facility will be available to community members as an important step toward improving health through better nutrition and reduce dependence on imported foods.
Chuuk State Public Service Corporation (Federated States of Micronesia)—$57,500 to conduct an independent value engineering analysis of the CPUC power plant design, construction, plans, and schedule. This study will evaluate both the technical and financial feasibility of the CPUC design and construction plans, as well as assess the capability of the proposed plant to meet the estimated power needs of Chuuk State now and in the future.
The College of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia)—$103,160 to partner with an institution to assess, develop, and monitor services to improve student persistence, student retention, and student success in the next two years while creating pathways to graduation. The college’s graduation rate is 13.2 percent and course completion, student persistence, and retention rates are all declining according to the College of Micronesia Institutional Research Planning Office. The goal is to increase all indicators by 10 percent.
The Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas carries out the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior in coordinating federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. The Assistant Secretary executes these responsibilities through the Office of Insular Affairs.