Pohnpei FSM

Our Approach

Through the tried and true methods of applied research, capacity building and community extension work, we develop and transfer environmentally friendly responsible methods of sponge, coral and clam farming to Micronesian communities.
Through our business development and marketing program, we provide farmers with start-up financing and small business development and marketing training. We provide local farmers access to international buyers and connect local communities with regional development and capacity building organizations. We are a humanitarian, not-for-profit organization involved at all levels of the development cycle, from simple technology development to community capacity building and technology transfer to income generation and international market development. We are well poised to provide needy Micronesian communities with environmentally sustainable and economically viable skills to produce locally grown products for international markets.

Organizational Structure and History

Fr. Gregory Muckenhaupt S.J. originally established MERIP in 1997 with the goal of providing education and income generating opportunities for rural Micronesians. The organization ran a number of community-based extension and aquaculture research and development projects. The institute was also used for teaching students in the Ponape Agriculture and Trade School (PATS) marine science/agriculture program. Marine science education at the high school level and applied research into coral and pearl farming was the primary work carried out from 2000-2005. With the closure of PATS in 2005, MERIP once again became a stand alone NGO with a focus on sustainable income generation for rural communities of the region. MERIP has worked in collaboration with a number of partners since 2003 to establish sponge farming with Marine Protected Areas (MPA) communities around Pohnpei. In 2005, income-generating activities were expanded to hard coral, soft coral, giant clams and other marine invertebrate farming. MERIP facilities are based on the old PATS campus and are leased to us by the Roman Catholic Community of Pohnpei-Kosrae. Deloitte and Touche, an internationally renowned auditing firm, conducts full audits of our financial records every six months. These audits are available to our partners upon request.

Decision Making within MERIP

A seven-member board oversees all activities of the institute. All powers of the corporation, except as otherwise provided by laws or its Charter or Articles of Incorporation, are vested in the board of directors. MERIP is managed and run by an executive director and 7 staff, of which 6 are local.

The Caroline Islands

The Federated States of Micronesia is located in the Western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Caroline Islands. The four main islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrea and Yap, along with their outlying atolls are spread across an water area of over one million square miles.

Pohnpei, FSM

Pohnpei Island is the largest, highest, most populous, and most developed single island in the FSM. It is located at the eastern end of the Caroline Islands and is about midway between Honolulu and Manila. Coordinates are 6°59′N 158°12′E.

Most of Pohnpei is ruggedly mountainous, lush and verdant, with the highest peak at 791 metres (2,595 ft). The rainforest is dense and rich; extensive mangrove swamps line much of the low shore. The island is roughly circular in outline, its 80-mile (130 km) circumference is surrounded by a coral reef.