Microfinance is being used successfully to greatly strengthen the social and economic standing of women’s groups.
These initiatives tend to be more successful when they include a component to mobilize local resources, such as a savings component. This helps the beneficiaries feel more like they own the activities, thus improving the chances of sustainability.
Treating carefully harvested bamboo with a simple solution of borax, the bamboo can be used as a marketable, insect and rot resistant construction material.
Aside from treating bamboo for the community center itself, orders for treated bamboo have been placed by local communities and dive resorts. Sales of treated bamboo provides an alternative livelihood for local villagers.
Bamboo is being treated using the Vertical Soak Displacement method developed by the Environmental Bamboo Foundation of Bali. Use of bamboo, a truly renewable resource, decreases pressure on nearby mangrove forests.
Small-scale Freshwater Aquaculture
Utilizing native species where possible, freshwater ponds and small-scale marine floating pens (e.g. grouper or milk fish) can assist local communities in improving their livelihoods.
If non-native species are used, such as the common carp and tilapia, it is important to carefully consider the possible negative repercussions that could occur if these fish escape into the wild. Both species, and many other non-native species, have already caused serious environmental and social impacts after being accidentally and intentionally released into the wild.
History shows that fish raised for aquaculture almost always eventually escape into the wild.
Closed systems that do not pollute surrounding waterways should be put into place whenever possible.
It is also important to consider land and water tenure issues when promoting small-scale aquaculture to ensure that poor and disadvantaged groups of people are not negatively impacted by the transfer of resources associated with introduction of aquaculture.
Wastewater Treatment Gardens
MAP has partnered with the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation to install a Wastewater Garden waste treatment system at the Coastal Community Resource Center (CCRC) at Tiwoho, Indonesia.
This system recycles wastewater, and both human waste and kitchen waste, turning this into fertilizer for home gardens or trees.
Of the hundreds of Wastewater Gardens worldwide, this will be the first system utilizing 100% local mangrove plants.
Aside from cleaning wastewater, the gardens showcase the amazing biodiversity and medicinal value of Bunaken National Park’s mangroves.
Cooking with Mangroves
Learning to cook with mangrove fruits and leaves is a fun way to get communities interested in long-term mangrove conservation.
Women’s and youth groups across Indonesia are selling food items prepared from mangroves as an added source of income, while becoming active mangrove stewards in the process:
1. Avicennia cakes
2. Acanthus tea and crackers
3. Acrostichum steamed salads
Pandanus odoratissimus is part of the Pandanceae family of plants, commonly referred to as screw pine. Found associated with mangroves, it is native to peninsular SE and S. Asia, and is one of the main wetland plant species of this region to be used to make handicraft products.
Pandanus can be used to make a variety of woven items, including bags, boxes, baskets, mats, and slippers. The sale of these products can be an important source of supplementary income for women’s groups in coastal villages and can also encourage wetlands conservation.