Yesterday, USDA Rural Development in the State of Alaska hosted the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rural Alaska Village grant (RAVG) program partners. The MOU partners, which include the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (SOA DEC), Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), and the Indian Health Service (IHS), are essential in the continued effort to bring safe water and waste systems to rural Alaskan communities.
Sanitation conditions are dire in rural Alaska due to lack of clean and modern water and waste facilities. The RAVG program is necessary to develop adequate water service, provide waste disposal systems and continue the effort to retire the use of ‘honeybuckets’ (Buckets that are used to contain human waste in homes without running water. The buckets are emptied by hand into a community collection site.) With the funding provided through this USDA Rural Development program, the necessary support to assist the communities overcome these deficiencies is being addressed.
The meeting and signing of the document culminates a year –long effort to establish a new streamlined process for the RAVG program. The process started in April 2010 with USDA bringing Federal, state, and local stakeholders to the table to identify ways to streamline the program in order to achieve smoother obligation and construction of projects in the future. The new process outlined in the MOU helps to accomplish those goals, all while maintaining the accountability that is necessary for the program. It introduces a new era of communication and coordination with our program partners to ensure the program is successful in helping meet the needs of individuals in rural Alaska.
For more information about this announcement, click here.