Five organisations benefit from US Embassy funding

US ambassador Joseph Cella (left) officiates during the Economic Resilience Grants Signing Program at the US Embassy yesterday. Looking on are grant recipients, Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei representative Adi Lagamu Vuiyasawa, Corals for Conservation’s Teitei Livelihoods Centre director Dr Austin Bowden-Kerby and NatureFiji–MareqetiViti director Nunia Thomas-Moko. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Five organisations are expected to benefit from $330,000 of funding aimed at supporting entities finding creative solutions to economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

While handing over the grant from the US Embassy’s Economic Resilience Grants, US ambassador to Fiji Joseph Cella said the funding focused on projects related to developing tourism, entrepreneurship and trade with the US.

Mr Cella said despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these five organisations had developed innovative and resilient projects, not only to bolster economic activity in their communities but also to develop business models in response to the wide-ranging adversities bought about by this global crisis.

“The embassy aims to support economic prosperity, driven by open market policies, high standard investments, increased connectivity, improved natural resource management and developing fair and reciprocal trading relationships,” said Mr Cella.

“The grant funding for these organisations range between $25,000 to $40,000, supporting economic resilience and recovery.

“With a special emphasis on tourism, NatureFiji–MareqetiViti will receive $85,000 to work with five local tourism operators to support the development of income-generating opportunities while Corals for Conservation’s Teitei Livelihoods Centre will use their $53,000 to implement an entrepreneurial training program to facilitate a network of local homestay and village stay businesses with women and youths in Sigatoka.

“The Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei will use their $53,000 in funding to establish two commercial incubator/growth centres in the existing premises in Suva and Savusavu while the Rotary Club of Savusavu will use their $85,000 grant to develop a tourism facility situated between Labasa and Savusavu.”

A $53,000 funding will also assist the Kiribati Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for the Reset Kiribati which is centred on preparing to welcome tourists to the country.

Pending funding availability, the embassy will announce more recovery grants.

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