A busy first few months of 2021 marked the start of a new chapter for us here at the Foundation; in 2021, we are getting back to full speed to make up for the lost time due to the pandemic. What an exciting year for us as we have a line-up of new plans, strategies, activities and programs. What’s more, we even welcomed two new interns recently for our marine conservation program, and they will be working with us for the next six months.
Here are some of the highlights of the things we’ve accomplished in the first four months of 2021:
Presenting the Foundation’s Programs to the Anambas Government
On March 29, the Foundation had an opportunity to present our activities, achievements and program plans for 2021 before the highest-ranking government officials of the Anambas Archipelago District, including the Head of District Abdul Haris, S.H., the Deputy Head of District, Regional Secretary and the Head of the Regional Parliament. In total, 25 people from 10 institutions and departments were present at the formal event. Our presentation was well received by the Head of District and other attendees, and we also talked about future collaboration with the government agencies and program implementation in other areas of the Anambas region. We concluded the event with the handover ceremony of our 2020 Annual Report to the Head of District and followed by an intimate lunch together with the Head of District and representatives from Bawah Reserve.
During our time in Tarempa we also met with the Provincial Forestry Office to collaborate on the tree-planting project in South Tarempa Village. This project aims to plant three hundred trees and install nine hundred bio pores on the degraded land around the water reservoir. This initiative will directly engage the local communities and, consequently, educate them on the importance of protecting the forest in South Tarempa. We are still in the early stages of implementing it. In the coming months, we are planning to do socialization to the South Tarempa community about the project, build a seedling house and procure tree seedlings, make bio pores and plant the young trees on the degraded land.
While the rest of the team was in Tarempa, our marine conservation program manager went to Bawah Island to assist the Bawah Reserve’s team for the annual Reef Health Monitoring (RHM). The monitoring was done in four days, and at the time of writing, we are still analyzing our findings.
Our marine conservation team have achieved a great deal in the first quarter of 2021, including completing the 2021 target of submerging 40 coral spiders in the damaged reef area near the Ant Island in Kiabu. We also received additional funding from Seastainable Co., a social business supporting marine conservation work in Southeast Asia, that we will use to make rumpon (fish aggregating devices) to be placed underwater in Kiabu. The rumpon will help fishermen catch fish more easily and become a model of community-based conservation activities on small islands in the Anambas archipelago.
In early April, we went to Kiabu to do upcycling training for the women in the village. We taught them how to make reusable bags and masks using leftover fabrics that they could find at home and coconut lights from coconut shells. We also invited middle school students to attend our presentation on sustainable menstruation, where we introduced reusable sanitary pads and underwear to reduce single-use sanitary products waste. All of the participants showed great enthusiasm for all of our activities and they were excited to gain new knowledge and skills that they could apply in their daily lives. Before leaving, we challenged them to make good-quality masks and bags that we will purchase and distribute to Digital English Club (DEC) students for the masks and to small kiosks for the bags, replacing single-use plastic bags.
Integrated Waste Management (IWM)
At our Recycling Centre in Kiabu we have successfully installed the thermal machine we designed and created in partnership with Udayana University in Bali. We invited two people from the university to Kiabu to set up the machine, run trials and train our staff to operate them. Once fully operational, the Recycling Centre will be able to receive and manage waste sustainably not only from Kiabu but also from different areas within the Anambas Islands.
Digital English Club (DEC)
At the request of the local government, in 2021 we established our Digital English Club (DEC) program in South Tarempa village. The program is attended by elementary school students and located at a public building provided by the South Tarempa government. Class is held every Wednesday and Thursday, both for online and offline sessions. We teach students basic everyday English and to make it more fun we regularly have games and quizzes and give prizes to the top students.
In early February, Husni, our Telaga Village Facilitator in charge of the organic farming program, took a three-week organic farming training at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pangkal Pinang. Travelling by boat, it took Husni three days to get to the city of Pangkal Pinang where he was welcomed by romo (father) Untung, his supervisor, throughout the training. The training was free of charge, and it was part of the church’s empowerment programs aiming to get people to care for the planet through organic farming. While there, Husni learned how to grow local, popular vegetables like water spinach, mustard greens, spinach and tomatoes, and basic farming techniques like making raised beds, organic compost and growth regulators, among other things. After returning from the training, Husni wants to impart the knowledge and skills to other people in the village and improve the Foundation’s organic farming program in Telaga and beyond.