Japan Ambassador Norio Saito and Arno Atoll Mayor Bernard Chong-Gum signed a grant contract for “Procurement of Sea Transport for Copra in Arno Atoll” last week Friday at the Embassy of Japan.
The grant is up to $135,500 through Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). The signing ceremony was witnessed by Irooj Katwel Jormelu, Deputy Chief of Local Government Affairs Roena Allen, Clerk of Arno Atoll Local Government Aoi Ogawa, and former adviser of Arno Atoll Local Government Newton Lajuan as well as officials and staff of the Embassy of Japan.
Arno Atoll is one of the leading producers of copra located closest to Majuro. It has nearly two thousand residents. Arno Atoll Local Government has supported copra transportation which amount to about 140 tons a year. Through GGP, Arno Atoll Local Government will be able to purchase a new 38-foot boat with two outboard engines. The boat will enable the local government to transport twice the current amount of copra annually to Majuro. Availability of the local government boat is expected to mean copra can be collected directly from residents throughout Arno — increasing options beyond the current situation of copra being sold to small stores on the atoll.
The Government of Japan launched GGP in 1996 in the RMI to respond to development needs engaged in grassroots activities with schools, hospitals as well as local governments and NGOs. As of this month, the embassy granted 145 GGP in the RMI, and this project marks the seventh GGP in Arno Atoll.
Read more about this in the November 16, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.