Koh Phra Thong Coastal Community Center

Koh Phra Thong Coastal Community Center

image_previewLion village in Phra Thong Island is a biodiversity hotspot that gives home to a small-scale post-tsunami newly-established fishing community isolated from public facilities such as electricity and regular transportation. After conducting several conservation capacity building and supplementary livelihood activities a CoastalCommunity Resource Center (CCRC) was inaugurated in 2010. This CCRC, located in two converted donated houses, is now the community focal point for conservation related activities. It also has the potential to be the umbrella for Environmental Education, scientific research, natural resource conservation, management and restoration, Eco-tourism, the Women’s Tie Dye Cooperative and the Community Visitor’s Center. After the inaugural phase the Centre needs funding to help support environmental awareness and livelihood development improvements. Keep reading.

THE CHALLENGE

The tsunami events of 2004 had a negative impact on the island´s natural resources but the new, more dangerous threat comes from outside investors wanting to develop this unique island for commercial tourism. This island, which is one of the least developed in the country, has a very fragile, high-biodiversity ecology that comprises 6 ecosystems and 317 species of which 11 are mammals, 45 reptiles, 137 birds, eight amphibians and 24 freshwater fish species. Some of these such as sea-turtles, dugong, and Lesser Adjutant are threatened and endangered species. The Thai government would like to turn this island into a National Park, but local communities concerned about restrictions on their traditional livelihoods have resisted. In addition, the lack of cohesion after the tsunami resettlement makes this still recently formed community more vulnerable to face the pressure from large-scale commercial projects, which would threaten their livelihoods and the island´s unique biodiversity. The local people need to be empowered to conserve the island’s natural treasures while making a living which is harmony with the island eco-systems.

OUR SOLUTION

The CCRC will act as a strategic focal point for capacity building, both in terms of biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood development. The center will demonstrate green technologies, suitable to local conditions such as solar power, rainwater harvesting, and recycling.

To achieve these goals MAP and the community have identified the need for the following activities: an environmental education demonstration room, conducting capacity building workshops (conservation, livelihoods and waste management), promoting community-based tourism and the women’s tie-dye cooperative as means of alternative sustainable livelihood, and also providing the centre with small-scale solar panels as there is no electrical supply grid on the island.

IMPACT

By financing this project you will help 170 households (around 510 men, women and children) to become the actors of their own development through community-based management activities by improving their capacity to rely on alternative sustainable livelihoods, therefore reducing the pressure on a natural environment. You will as well help them to protect and manage 6 different ecosystems. Last, but far from least, you will be helping to facilitate improved conservation through linking and promoting team-work in a heterogeneous community of Moken, Thai, Chinese, and Burmese which was the result of the 2004 tsunami resettlement.

MILESTONES

Short-term

  • Reduce pressure on extraction of natural resources
  • Encourage wider discussion on conservation among adults and children
  • Supplementary income development specially for women
  • Develop community-based ecotourism to provide incentive for conservation
    Long-term:
  • Community runs its own programs
  • Collective actions against external threats
  • Community becomes an Eco-model