United States Ambassador to Fiji Joseph Cella announced a total of US$155,000 (FJ$330,000) in funding for five beneficiaries of the U.S. Embassy’s Economic Resilience Grants. The goal of these grants is to bolster local organizations and associations that are finding creative solutions to the economic adversities caused by the pandemic, with a focus on projects related to developing tourism, entrepreneurship, and trade with the United States.
Ambassador Cella said, “Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these five organizations, have 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. The grant funding for these organizations range between $25,000-$40,000 to support economic resilience and recovery.
With a special emphasis on tourism, NatureFiji – MareqetiViti will receive US$40,000 (FJ$85,000) work with five local tourism operators to support the development of income generating opportunities in key biodiversity areas while positioning these businesses to be market ready when tourism returns to Fiji.
The Rotary Club of Savusavu, will use their US$40,000 (FJ$85,000) grant to develop a tourism facility situated on Transinsular Road, the main stretch of highway between Labasa and Savusavu. This will be operated by the landowner’s women and youth groups. Other than employment creation, the business will also focus on providing healthy, fresh foods for sale, using locally grown organic crops combined with a retail space for local artisans.
Corals for Conservation’s Teitei Livelihoods Centre will use their US$25,000 (FJ$53,000) to implement an entrepreneurial training program to facilitate a network of local homestay and village stay businesses with women and youth in Sigatoka. In addition to the newly acquired business skills, they will also learn how to produce value added products with traditional crafts and initiate guest activities such as coral gardening and nature tours.
The iSoqosoqo Vakamarama I Taukei will use their US$25,000 (FJ$53,000) in funding to establish two commercial incubator/growth centers in the existing premises in Suva and Savusavu. Women and girls and those living in informal settlements will participate in entrepreneurial classes to support their families and communities.
And in Kiribati, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) will focus their US$25,000 (FJ$53,000) grant for the Reset Kiribati which is centered on preparing to welcome tourists to the country. KCCI will develop and implement COVID-19 travel safety protocols and help the small to medium sized (SME) operators meet the safety compliance standards for tourism.
This initiative is part of a host of activities by the U.S. Embassy in Suva and the Department of State in Washington, D.C. to promote economic growth and build a robust trade relationship between the United States and its allies in the region. Pending funding availability, the Embassy will announce more recovery grants.