The Direct Aids Program (DAP), a grant from the Australian Government which funds non-government development projects, is supporting four projects in Palau for science education, exercise promotion, playground construction, and fishery development.

The 2020 DAP was given to the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) for its “hands-on” school program, Kotel a Deurreng Inc. (KAD) for its social marketing campaign promoting community use of walkways, the Angel Center for the construction of playgrounds, and Ngarameliwei for the Airai Fishing Cooperative expansion, focused on expanding a marketplace for the local sale of fish. All four projects have received $10 thousand from the grant.

PICRC, which launched the first classes of its new school program in October 2020, is using the funding to help with the preparation of its Student Laboratory, purchasing educational materials such as laptops, microscopes, scales, beakers, pipettes, and interactive LEGO kits. The school program, which is designed with various levels of classes for students from kindergarten through high-school, simulates some of the research done at PICRC like surveillance of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s), coral-monitoring, and mangrove identification, and will also include “hands-on” experience like squid dissection. PICRC’s Outreach Office says that the funding was also used to purchase a camera and microphones with the idea to develop virtual content, particularly to prepare for a COVID emergency and virtual lessons.

KAD, an NGO which promotes health and well-being, is using the funding in support of a social-marketing campaign launched in August 2020, titled “’Like’ Walkable Palau”, targeted at combating non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) common in Palau like diabetes. The campaign aims at building community engagement around “walkability” and the importance of exercise. The DAP grant will be used for marketing initiatives to encourage communities to use newly-installed walkways through sub-campaigns, MeketiiWalks and BeliasWalks.

The Angel Center-School of the Pacific, an outdoor after-school and weekend program for students in Koror, is using the funding for playground building materials, program promotions, books, instructor stipends and field trips. In addition to the playgrounds under construction, the Center is developing interactive activities for students focused on building cultural and traditional skills, as well as encouraging exercise.

Ngarameliwei will be using the funding for the Airai Fishing Cooperative Expansion, aimed at expanding its marketplace to accommodate more local fishermen and fisherwomen. The funding will be used to add to the marketplace’s storage and holding capacity. Ngarameliwei’s marketplace serves as a venue for fishermen and women to sell their fish, including invertebrates like sea cucumbers and clams, and produce like fruits, vegetables, and taro. The marketplace also serves as the venue for meetings and management decisions. The initiative builds on a nation-wide campaign for the growth of the domestic fisheries industry, which has seen setbacks due to COVID-19, but is continuing to receive support from foreign nations such as Australia as well as Japan, which donated a specially-designed fish-cooler prototype to a Koror-based fish market last month.  

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