I hit my first work anniversary at the Anambas Foundation this month, and what a journey it has been so far.
In 2021, after 10 years of living and working in Jakarta, I decided to return to my hometown in Tarempa. I studied architecture in college and worked as an architect while I was living away from home. Yet despite my background, I’ve always had an interest in the environment and community development, so when an opportunity came for me to work as a Community Development Officer at the Foundation I immediately signed up for it.
I gain plenty of experience and knowledge from working at the Foundation. I learn how to think systematically when it comes to program implementation, how to best communicate and interact with communities to better understand the environmental and waste issues in program locations, I travelled to Kiabu and Telaga for the first time in my life, and, I’m now more mindful with my waste at home and trying to live more sustainably.
It wasn’t easy at first, but I’m slowly getting into eco-friendly habits. I always carry a reusable cup and straw whenever I go out to minimise single-use plastic use, and I make sure I don’t litter. I even sometimes bring recyclable waste back home because I couldn’t find a trash bin while I was outside.
I can personally attest that making lifestyle changes take time and dedication. Part of my job at the Foundation is to create a behavioural change amongst communities regarding waste management. From my interactions with villagers, I came to understand that creating a good circular economy model for small-island communities is key to reducing their dependence on oceans for livelihood and managing waste properly. Foundation’s initiatives under the IWM umbrella like the waste bank, recycling and upcycling show communities the value of waste, and that by doing proper waste management they can earn extra income through the bank and/or upcycling the waste into new products of higher value.
Our team also regularly conducts community outreach activities, either to new locations or existing ones, to give presentations on our programs and waste. I also oversee the Digital English Club (DEC) program that not only teaches students basic English but also incorporates lessons on conservation and sustainability.
2023 is set to be an exciting year for me and the team at the Anambas Foundation; new initiatives, program expansions and wider stakeholder engagements are some of the major things coming this year. No doubt my job responsibilities are bigger than the previous year, so here’s to hoping for more valuable lessons and new experiences this year!