A significant boost for women’s economic empowerment took place at the International Conference Center (ICC) at the end of June. The signing ceremony for the Guidelines on Implementation of the Women Business Start-Up Small Loan Revolving Fund (Kora Im An Kil fund) included Taiwan Ambassador Jeffrey Hsiao, Minister of Culture and Internal Affairs Jemi Nashion, Attorney General Richard Hickson, Acting BOMI President and Chief Executive Officer Velma Edwards, Chairperson of the Executive Board of the Kora Im An Kil Fund, Inc. Molly Helkena.
Also attending the ceremony, which coincided with the WUTMI and Lerooj Conference, were Health Minister Bruce Bilimon, Chief Secretary Kino Kabua, WUTMI President Ramona Levy Strauss, WUTMI Executive Director Daisy Alik-Momotaro, WUTMI officials and representatives, and female traditional leaders.
The Guideline on Implementation is based on an MOU signed in March, 2019, when Taiwan’s President Dr. Tsai Ing-wen visited the Marshall Islands to attend the Pacific Women Leader’s Coalition conference hosted by former President Dr. Hilda Heine. Under the MOU, Taiwan will provide $1 million to initiate the small loan project. It is designed to help promote gender equality and provide tangible support for women’s economic empowerment.
Ambassador Hsiao said at the ceremony: “It’s a gift and joy for all future successful businesswomen in the Marshall Islands.”’ He also stressed, quoting President Tsai, that the fund will provide Marshallese women with the initial financing needed to get their businesses off the ground, bring economic growth to the entire nation and create a more dynamic society.
“Behind every successful woman, there is our joint efforts,” Ambassador Hsiao concluded.
Minister Nashion, speaking on behalf of President David Kabua and the RMI government, thanked President Tsai and Ambassador Hsiao for this gift and friendship. “This Fund has embodied the RMI’s sustainable goal – leave no one behind,” he said.
The Taiwan Embassy will work with the Kora Im An Kil Fund Inc. and the Bank of Marshall Islands to move forward with the fund.