U.S. Grant Helps Fifty Samoan Villages Combat Climate Change

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Adaptation funds to improve livelihoods, water supply, conservation

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 14, 2015) – The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) has awarded a grant to the Matuaileoo Environment Trust, Inc. (METI) to help fifty Samoan villages address challenges related to climate change and enhance livelihoods.

METI’s Climate Change Action Project in Fifty Samoan Villages is a multi-faceted initiative that will include training on climate-smart agriculture methods and healthy living through whole foods and plant-based nutrition. USAID’s $735,581 grant to METI is one of the nine grants provided through PACAM to assist Pacific Island communities to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change and develop solutions to improve livelihoods, water availability, and ecosystem conservation and management.

Samoa is among the ten Pacific nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to the 2014 report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Its environment and income sources, such as agriculture and fishing, have been negatively impacted by rising sea levels, extreme rainfalls and cyclones.

U.S. Ambassador to Samoa Mark Gilbert launched the project yesterday, May 13 in Apia featuring a detailed presentation of the project by Dr. Walter Vermeulen, Executive Director of Matuaileoo Environment Trust.

"I am proud that USAID is partnering with the Matuaileoo Environment Trust, Inc. to develop livelihoods and self-reliance for communities in Samoa to combat the drastic impact of a changing climate," Ambassador Gilbert said. "Supporting this project signifies our commitment to the long-term well-being of the communities in Samoa, and ultimately to the prosperous future of all of us."

With the USAID support, the Matuaileoo Environment Trust, Inc. (METI), a charitable trust that promotes a holistic approach to environmental management, will train community members in fifty villages to act as "fortaiala" (Samoan for "path-breakers") and serve as key health, education and development experts in their communities.

The project will also help create thirty new farmers’ cooperatives and streamline existing ones and conduct training on the concept of permaculture, a method to maintain permanent agriculture while relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.

The Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM) is a grant-making facility funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that assists twelve Pacific Island countries to reduce long-term vulnerabilities associated with climate change. PACAM awards grants to civil society organizations in support of climate change adaptation measures and related "co-benefits", such as livelihoods enhancement, improved health, food security, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable natural resources management.

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