Date: July 12, 2012
For more information please contact:
Rebecca Zepeda (202) 208-2534

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao I. Pula today announced more than $1.2 million in technical assistance grants to support American Samoa programs in education, health, and conservation.

"These grants symbolize our commitment to the people of American Samoa and we are pleased to be supporting the efforts of leaders such as Dr. Jacinta Galea'i, Director of Health Elisapeta Ponausuia, and NPS Terrestrial Ecologist Tevita Togia to improve the quality of life for the youth of American Samoa.  I wish to thank these individuals for their hard work and perseverance in their respective areas of responsibilities and for reaching out to the Office of Insular Affairs for assistance.  The funding for these programs will provide quality opportunities and assist communities for years to come,” said Pula.

The following grants were awarded today:

American Samoa Department of Education - $739,453 Maintenance Assistance Program – Comprehensive Bus Safety Program - This will fund 6 months of in-stock inventory for bus maintenance and upgrades for existing buses. Further funding is for specialized training for bus drivers and bus certification for the mechanics who will be seeing to the upkeep of the buses.

American Samoa Department of Health - $312,600 Technical Assistance Program – Immunization Mobile Van – This will fund the lease of an immunization van in American Samoa for the period of January 2013 to December 2015. This has been a successful program for many years, and this funding will allow for the continuation of it. This will also fund the Flu-Uptake Initiative, which will provide a flu vaccine to the public with the Van. It will also fund the Adolescent “Give it your Best Shot” Initiative, which teaches youth about the importance of immunization shots.

American Conservation Experience - $227,600 Technical Assistance Program – American Samoa Youth Program: Tamaligi and Red Seed Tree Eradication – This program is two-fold, in that it aims to hire American Samoa youth to assist in the removal of these types of trees; it will teach the youth about job skills and expose them to resource management career paths, as well as eradicating these invasive species and reclaiming 2,000 acres of ecologically vulnerable rainforest.