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Malama Na ‘Apapa to lay off workers

  • Courtesy of Malama Na ‘Apapa

    Malama Na ‘Apapa teachers and students pause during an enrichment activity, where the teachers lead an educational outreach program, Eyes of the Reef Training, and debris-removal training.

ANAHOLA — Malama Na ‘Apapa will lay off 19 workers hired with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant funding received from Kaua‘i County set to expire on Dec. 31.

During the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, Malama Na ‘Apapa was awarded $200,000 in additional funds from the CARES Act.

The predicament MNA is facing is just a microcosm of what small businesses bolstered by CARES Act funding will experience when grants expire, according to MNA Director Scott Bacon.

Essential business

Malama Na ‘Apapa achieved one of its main objectives for coral reef conservation and one part of their business’ mission statement, he said.

To date, MNA conducted 294 reef surveys, collecting baseline data to document the current state of the coral reefs surrounding Kaua‘i. “Malama Na ‘Apapa” means “Take Care of the Coral Reefs” in Hawaiian.

The information MNA collects will be used in future ocean-conservation-management decisions, Bacon said.

Sweat equity

Malama Na ‘Apapa had 107 volunteers who devoted 741 hours to remove debris.

The volunteers were crucial to the survival of MNA, according to Bacon.

“The community members, and also volunteers from many other organizations, have collaborated with us,” Bacon said. “In the short term, the grant has helped our nonprofit tremendously.”

The need for more

Because several small businesses and the employees who work for the smaller business are more dependent on CARES Act funding, Bacon anticipates there will be a substantial increase in the state and national unemployment rate come the end of the year.

“Our nonprofit will have to lay off all 19 workers who have been working with us under this project,” Bacon said. “I believe every business that was using the CARES Act funding will be in a similar situation.”

Bacon said there is more work to be done in the area of conservation.

“More funding would make it possible to continue these programs,” Bacon said. “This will help diversify our economic industry.”

Bacon is hoping that Kaua‘i County can come up with more money for his organization and other small businesses that are dependent on the funding for survival.

“Kaua‘i County secured more funding to make it possible to have more recovery programs such as ours,” Bacon said. “There is much more work to be done in ocean-conservation efforts on Kaua‘i.”

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Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. Scott Bacon November 22, 2020 8:43 am Reply

    Aloha Jason, Thanks for bringing awareness to the marine ecosystem conservation project Malama Na Apapa was able to implement with the County of Kauai CARES Act grant. I just wanted to clarify a little more about this amazing opportunity.
    While we will have to lay off all 19 employees as the funding expires, these employees were aware that when they were hired it was a temporary project funded by the County of Kauai CARES Act Grant. Without the County funding these workers would have had no employment at all. They were all very grateful to have had the opportunity to work even if for a temporary period. The County has done an amazing job securing this funding and getting the funding out quickly to run projects such as ours.

    Also, there seems to be a typo or misquote on the last paragraph. It should read, “Hopefully the County will be able secure more funding to make it possible to have more recovery programs such as ours. There is much more work to be done in ocean conservation efforts on Kauai and more funding will make it possible to continue these types of programs and help diversify our economic industry.”

    Mahalo to the County for implementing the CARES Act recovery grants!
    Scott Bacon


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