Waa’gey is a community-based organization that uses traditional skills to confront the social, economic and environmental challenges faced by the people of Micronesia's most remote outer islands. We pursue the preservation of native technologies and arts both to protect our distinctive Outer Island identity, and to solve specific problems relating to import dependency, urbanization, climate change, and unemployment.
EXTREME ISOLATION, LIMITED ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE ARE BIG PROBLEMS FOR THE SMALL ATOLLS
OF MICRONESIA’S OUTER ISLANDS.

For thousands of years, our people of the central Caroline Islands have sustained lives and a healthy lifestyle on remote low lying island atolls. Central to the lifestyle were our sustainable cultural and traditional practices, which allowed for us to live side by side with nature and its resources.

Most significant of these defining resources: the vast Pacific Ocean. While our culture has withstood the change of time over centuries, the pace and scope of outside influence is growing at an unprecedented pace. Moreover, there is now an even bigger threat at global level; climate change and impact of sea level rise that have put further stress on such low lying atolls and the meager resources available.

More and more of our people in the neighboring islands are relocating to the main island of Yap. Broadly, neighboring islanders migrate to this urbanizing center to seek better opportunities such as medical needs, education, and to participate in the cash economy. While this is still the case today, we cannot ignore this looming problem in the not too distant future; that of climate change and the sea level rise.

Some impact of the sea level rise has already taken its toll on certain low-lying islands. This situation paints a darker picture for the 36% state population that currently resides out in these remote islands. It will inevitably force the people to seek higher grounds

for permanent residency where food and other basic human needs are met. Hence, the embryonic outer island settlements in the main island are expected to increase in residential population over the next decade.

This will pose some expected challenges that the communities themselves need to address early on. Such problems will mostly arise out of cultural differences, if not culture shock, as the community members readjust to their new lifestyle. These problems will include health related issues, as people adjust from a diet of local produce to spam and other imported goods, lesser physical exercise, etc. Traditions of the past will have the added risk of being lost.

PAIRING EXPERT MENTORS WITH EAGER YOUNG PEOPLE, WAA’GEY HELPS TO PROTECT AND REVIVE IMPORTANT CULTURAL SKILLS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE LOST.
Waa'gey organizes the efforts of volunteers to pass specialized local knowledge from community elders to young people. Traditionally, this occurred as a matter of cultural and familial course in the Outer Islands that span from Yap Proper to Chuuk Lagoon. Today, with the introduction of the cash economy and a surge in emigration to the urban centers on high islands, continuation of such instruction must be deliberate. Ongoing Waa'gey projects include dugout canoe and handicraft carving as well as specialized skirt weaving. Waa'gey also supports the efforts of others working in or for the Outer Island Community. Waa'gey has ongoing partnerships with foreign development agencies and international nonprofits as well as local clubs, schools and organizations. Waa'gey's presence on Yap, and reputation within the community, helps it serve as a conduit, clearinghouse and coordinator for effective civic action in Yap State.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND GRASSROOTS PRESENCE MAKES WAA’GEY AN EXCELLENT PARTNER FOR THOSE PROMOTING
A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA IN MICRONESIA.
WAA’GEY WAS FOUNDED BY, AND IS LED BY, NATIVE-BORN MICRONESIANS WHO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEX CHALLENGES THEIR COMMUNITIES FACE.
Regina R. Raigetal: Waa'gey CEO. Her focus areas include Gender in Development, traditional weaving, and early childhood education. She works with a range of local and regional woman's associations across the Central Pacific. She serves as a member on the Yap Women Association Advisory Committee and the Neighboring Islands Women Association. She is also a Board Director for the Habele Outer Island Education Fund. Regina served as the United States Peace Corps' Field Representative in the State of Yap and worked as a liaison for the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. H. Larry Raigetal is a Waa'gey Project Coordinator. His focus areas include traditional carving, revival of Micronesian arts and crafts, and secondary education programs. Larry is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Micronesian Department of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Director of the Yap State Department of Youth and Civic Affairs, as well as the Chairman of the FSM National Banking Board. He is a graduate of Xaiver High School and the University of San Francisco. Raigetal earned a Masters Degree in International Relations from Oxford University.
FOLLOW WAA’GEY AT: WAAGEY.TUMBLR.COM
CONTACT US: HOW YOU CAN HELP:
larry@waagey.org
(691) 950-1151
regina@waagey.org
(691) 952-1705
Waa'gey
P.O. Box 254
Colonia, Yap
FM 96943
$25:
sharpening kit used to keep adze blades and knives properly shaped and safe to use.
$100:
Enough for a small adze iron. Attaches to a hand-carved handle used for carving and shaping figurines and tools.
$250:
Enough for a large, custom-forged adze iron. Used for carving out logs and shaping canoe hulls once attached a handle.
DONATE:
Send check or money order to the address
on left, or support us through PayPal, with
a gift to Habele a US-based non-profit organization that sustains our work.
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