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    Micro-grants Yield Big Results



    Story by Sgt. Mark Fayloga 

    I Marine Expeditionary Force

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE JAKER, Afghanistan — Abdul Saatar owned a modest metalworking shop in Nawa, Afghanistan. When the cord to his primary welding machine became tattered beyond use, he feared he’d lose his business and means to support his family.

    When a patrol of Marines passed by Saatar’s shop a few months back, he showed them the cord and asked for help.

    “Metalworking is my only job,” Saatar said. “Without my tools I would just quit and not be able to do anything else.”

    The Marines with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, told Saatar about how to apply for a micro-grant. After meeting with Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Quigley and being approved for a grant, Saatar was able to obtain the money he needed for his shop, Oct. 24.

    I asked for help and now I have all the tools I need,” Saatar said. “I can do my job again.”

    In the past week, Quigley, the Commander’s Emergency Relief Program officer for 3/3, has been able to finalize six micro-grants to Afghans in need.

    “Of all the things we do this is something that I think can take hold and help Afghan lives after American forces leave,” Quigley, from Bristol, Pa., said.

    By using CERP funds the Marines are able to give micro-grants to Nawa business owners in need. A few months ago, burglars broke into Haji Shir Mohammed’s store where he runs a currency exchange shop. Whatever the intruders didn’t steal, they broke. Mohammed had no way to recover his losses, but he heard the Marines could help.

    Mohammed was able to gain approval for a grant. After purchasing all the gear he lost in the robbery, he bought a new safe which he says, “the thieves can’t steal.”

    Managing relief funds is only one of Quigley’s roles with the battalion. In fact, it’s a collateral duty. Primary, he serves as the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense officer for 3/3. He said he volunteered to oversee micro-grants because he believes in their positive impact on the area and its people.

    “This is the most effective way to use CERP funds,” Quigley said. “It stimulates the economy. It stimulates the businesses, and it doesn’t have an American face on it. It’s all Afghan.”



    Date Taken: 10.24.2010
    Date Posted: 10.28.2010 02:31
    Story ID: 58961

    Web Views: 72
    Downloads: 6