As part of our anti-turtleshell project in Banggai, Central Sulawesi, we started to support the local population on the island of Tembang in cultivating red algae some time ago. The idea behind this is that the villagers create an alternative income to fishing by growing the fast-growing algae. This is because fishing drives most families into a debt trap due to financial dependencies. The project was accompanied by an expert in aquaculture and is already bearing fruit. After a group of interested people was formed in the village community, the first seedlings were planted alongside the coast.
Since May this year, the group members have been cultivating the plants, controlling its growth and cleaning it from filamentous algae. The first crop of the versatile algae, which is particularly popular in Asia, has already been harvested.
We have initiated a new project by the portuguese name „Capacitação de mulheres e jovens na conservação das tartarugas“ on Boa Vista in July. Our Project Coordinator Stephany Lopes tells you what it is all about:
TF: Could you please describe the GEF Small Grants Programme funded project and its goals?
SL: National female university students participate in our project for 1–2 months, gaining hands-on conservation skills alongside our rangers and international volunteers. The working fields being beach patrols, biometric data collection, and hatchery management. Together, they organize environmental education sessions and clean-up campaigns for local children and community groups, fostering increased responsibility. From this knowledge exchange all participants benefit, focusing on their own strengths and experiences, ultimately building capacity for both students and rangers. The project also engages the local community, enabling them to continue these activities in their own communities after the project completion.
TF: Which part of the project do you personally like the most?
SL: Overall, the project opens up new opportunities for women. For example, many of them have never left their home island or boarded a plane. It also encourages women to work in wildlife conservation and helps them gain more self-determination and autonomy.
TF: What do you think will be the impacts of the activities, in the short run, and in the long term?
SL: In the short run, they will lead to better working conditions in the camps. By introducing English lessons, the students contributed to an increase in the communication between the rangers and the foreign volunteers. In the long term, we will receive more applications from female rangers, as many participants enjoyed the experience and want to return next year to work for us. Apart from that, the rangers benefit from the newly gained knowledge by the university studies which can be useful for the future.