Head of Ngaraseseb Kerungil Augustine and members receive assistance from Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Environment Steven Victor and witnessed by (back left to right) JICA Chief Representative Kobayashi Ryutaro; Japan Ambassador Karasawa; Minister Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl (MHRCTD), H.E. President Surangel Whipps Jr.,and Minister Kaleb Udui Jr. (MOF).

July 21, 2022- President Surangel Whipps Jr., Japan Ambassador Karasawa Akira, Minister Kaleb Udui Jr., Minster Ngiraiblas Tmetuchl, and Minister Steven Victor awarded a seed grant to six women groups (Cheldebechel) in Palau. The women groups include: Eltel Ngerbuns-Aimeliik; Simaliwal-Ngiwal; Ngara Otellouch-Melekeok; Ngara Telok-Ngchesar; and Ngara Bochochod-Airai and Ngara Seseb-Airai. 

The seed grant is part of the food security and income generation component of the ADB-supported project called COVID-19 Response for Affected Poor and Vulnerable Groups which aims to address the needs of poor and vulnerable groups in Palau affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The Government of Japan is providing $2.4 million grant from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific for the project with most of the funding allocated to food security and income generating component. There are 20 women groups which are expected to receive seed grant from the project.

“Mr. Ambassador, I’d like to convey our warmest “Arigatou gozaimasu” to the people and government of Japan for this assistance so generously provided as a COVID-19 response for the affected poor and vulnerable groups.  Since the early days of Palau, communities have found their foundation and strength from the women of the villages.  To this day, these women, who have now come together as organizations, remain pillars of our society- ensuring that our families and children are safe, well-fed, culturally-aware and proud of their Palauan identities.  These grant opportunities arm these women with the confidence and tangible resources to maintain food security for their communities.  For that, we again thank the government of Japan, the government of Ireland and the ADB,” says President Surangel Whipps Jr. during the awarding ceremony.  

 “This award is not only to help you produce taro but hopefully assist in creating more value-added products to diversity your income.  I’m so pleased for the potential of the seed grant to positively impact your groups and your community,” said Ambassador of Japan to Palau Karasawa Akira in addressing the recipients of the seed grant.

Finance Minister Udui Jr. also gave an encouraging remark to women groups. “We hope that the seed grant will improve food security and revenue for our villages, and if this is successful, showcase to other countries how this intervention can positively impact our villages.  So please do your best, I know you always do your best.  Please help us make this project really successful.  Grow as many taros as you can and we can make this into taro flour and chips for potential export.  We have a lot of faith in you, thank you for being a part of this program.” 

“Klou lomereng el saul a mora Bureau of Agriculture, Palau SBDC, Ministry of Finance, Palau Organic Growers Association (POGA) era mle blakerreng ma klaumerang er tir el ngilseuir tial cheldebechel era re Ngaraseseb el nguu tial grant. Ng dirrek el kmal tokubets lomereng el saul a mora ADB era kmal klou el ngeseu era udoud el ngii a sobecheklii a ngelsengesel a omengetmeklel, omelalm, ulekurulel ma oterullel a dellomel kukau mekede smisichii sel tekinged el kmo A Keled a Ngercheled!, (We thank BOA, SBDC, MOF, and POGA for their hard work and faith in assisting Ngaraseseb (and other women groups) get this grant.  We also thank ADB and its partners (Government of Japan) for providing financial assistance that will help with the cultivating, processing, and marketing of taro.  This effort will strengthen our common goal that Our Food is Our Responsibility-A Keled a Ngercheled!)  says a Rois Yoichi-Arurang of Ngaraseseb women organization from Airai.  The similar sentiment was shared among other groups present at the ceremony. 

Application is open for more women groups to apply; deadline is August 15, 2022.  PLEASE CALL Citralina Haruo at the Bureau of Agriculture 776-6911 for more information. 

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