On November 17, 2023, Ambassador of Japan ORIKASA Hiroyuki and Minister of Public Infrastructure and Industries Hon. Charles Obichang signed the grant contract for “The Project for the Rehabilitation of the Palau Supreme Court Building in Koror” worth $120,800. This is the 100th Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP) in Palau.
The 100th GGP will rehabilitate the Palau Supreme Court building, which was originally built as the then Japanese Administration’s government office building over eighty years ago. This historic building that serves the people of Palau is in dire need of repair. As the only agency capable of implementing and managing the rehabilitation work of the historic building, the Bureau of Public Works, Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Industries, will be the recipient of the 100th GGP that is expected to create an environment conducive to the smooth provision of judicial services.
The Supreme Court building is one of the important buildings not only for the people who engage in the judicial services, but also for the community in Koror as it forms part of the city’s historical and cultural identity. The rehabilitation of such building plays an important role in maintaining the city’s cultural integrity.
Japan’s Grassroots Grant Project Areas
Since 1999, the Embassy of Japan in Palau has been working with various Palauan organizations, including schools, local governments and NGOs, to implement the GGPs for communities in Palau. As grassroots assistance projects, special attention is given to projects in the areas of healthcare, education, public welfare and environment, as well as agriculture and fisheries to improve the lives of the Palauans.
Examples of such projects include the rehabilitation of school buildings, the procurement of school buses and fire trucks, the construction of a training center for Ebiil Society, and a multipurpose community center for other organizations. Most recently, the Bureau of Public Works have signed the first GGP with the Embassy of Japan for the improvement of the Airai Causeway Culvert.
GGP seeks to have a direct impact on community well-being and to achieve behavioral and social results that support improved health, education or other development outcomes for the people of Palau. GGP often makes a small contribution to communities, but it is these projects that bring smiles on people’s faces.
GGP responds to local situations, interests, and values
“It is truly exciting to see the effects that GGPs have on the daily lives of children and adults alike. GGPs are a form of assistance that allows us to more directly engage with the communities in which we live, responding to local situations, interests and values,” said Ambassador Orikasa. “At the end of the day, it is the smiles on people’s faces that we want to see, and when I sign GGPs, it is the smiles on people’s faces that I always have in mind,” Ambassador Orikasa continued.
One way to ensure that we see the smiles on people’s faces is by following up on the projects for at least for five years. We continue to monitor the project to ensure, for example, that the newly procured items are being fully used and properly maintained. As with any project, it requires a continuous partnership to be built around the project amongst the stakeholders and ensure accountability and transparency to both Japanese and Palauans.
A way forward
Japan has implemented its Official Development Assistance projects in all 16 states of Palau. As for the GGP, the Embassy of Japan has implemented projects in 14 states since 1999. The only two states that have not been reached by GGPs are the southwestern islands of Sonsorol and Hatohobei. “As Japan and Palau celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year, the Embassy of Japan will continue to support local communities through assistance projects including the GGP, and we hope to reach out to those communities we have not yet reached in the coming years,” said Ambassador Orikasa.
For more information on GGP, call 488-6455 or visit the Embassy of Japan website at https://www.palau.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/about_ggp.html.