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.