Stan and workers at self-help housing under construction.Marshall Islands Development Bank (MIDB) recently celebrated the 100th home constructed in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Mutual Self-Help Program. Among those in attendance were U.S. Ambassador Armbruster, USDA RD Area Director Mr. Diego, and the Minister of Resources and Development for RMI Mr. Alfred. Stan Keasling, RCAC chief executive officer, and Erika Holzhauer, RCAC rural development specialist, attended the celebration and toured current housing construction sites. They also met with the owner builders, MIDB’s Board of Directors and government officials including the newly elected President Dr. Hilda Heine.

The celebration included local foods and MIDB staff and self-help homeowners’ children performed traditional dances.

MIDB’s Mutual Self-Help program was established 10 years ago and is partially funded by USDA RD and the RMI government.  The grantee has successfully managed and completed five 523 technical assistance grants and is currently working on its sixth grant, with seven homes under construction in Majuro the capital of RMI. Ninety-eight percent of the homebuilders are very low-income families as the minimum wage in RMI is $2.50 per hour; and MIDB’s Mutual Self-Help program is the only affordable housing program in the RMI.