Kamaka village has dollar signs in its eyes. Its reputation of being financially opportunistic is well known throughout neighboring communities of Triton Bay, Indonesia. One of Kamaka’s town leaders relentlessly collects fees for any access to village waters. Rare Conservation Fellow Wida Sulistyaningrum recently spoke to him and was pleased to learn that he has been rejecting offers of payment. “The leader said ‘no’ to boats because we had declared it a no-take zone and we do not use nets anymore,” says Sulistyaningrum. “It is a good thing for the campaign.”
Sulistyaningrum and nine other conservationists in Indonesia and Timor-Leste partnered with Rare to learn social marketing tools and systems to lead change in their communities. The ten fellows recently celebrated the completion of Rare’s two-year training and implementation program. All ten Pride campaigns built a sense of ownership around fishery management. Though each fellow confronted different hurdles and achieved a range of successes, they all managed to inspire fishing-dependent villages to take pride in their marine resources. Combined, the fellows facilitated the declaration, implementation or design of 32 no-take zones covering a total of 65,000 hectares (or about twice the size of Rhode Island). Now, 13 new fellows from Indonesia and Malaysia have joined the next class to further improve prospects for coastal fisheries in the Coral Triangle, and they expect to launch their public outreach campaigns this June.
“When I started the campaign, I felt nervous because I didn’t have experience or skills in communication,” says Sulistyaningrum. “Rare gave me a lot of tools and skills to approach the community in a fun way.” She and her colleagues at Conservation International had been working for years to gain the trust of the communities on the coast of Triton Bay. In the past, she presented to local stakeholders telling them what their problems were and how to fix them. Those meetings did not go well. Now she asks the community to identify their own issues and involves them in creating and executing the solutions. The community now feels invested in sustaining their livelihoods.
Her suggestion to the people of Triton Bay had been to establish one no-take zone, but after a series of meetings and events, the community asked to close off a total of four areas to fishing. “It was a big surprise,” says Sulistyaningrum. “That is the biggest success of my campaign.”
She aimed for a 20 percent reduction of fishers entering the no-take zones. In Kamaka, surveys already show a 33 percent decline. At a recent meeting, community members asked Sulistyaningrum about building a patrol post on a central island to guard the no-take zones. She explained that funds were limited. But the community told her they would provide the materials and funds, if she would lend technical support. “I tell them they are the role model for other communities who now also want to set up no-take zones,” says Sulistyaningrum. “The people are really proud of what they have done.”
Sulistyaningrum chokes back tears as she talks about her vision for Triton Bay and its people — with whom she has built a strong bond and trust. “I hope they become a fish kingdom,” says Sulistyaningrum. She wants them to continue living according to local traditions and feed themselves from the sea.
Her hard work, combined with the pioneering spirit of the people of Triton Bay, may already be paying off. Early indications at one site show a five-fold increase in the snapper population. Recently, an elderly fisher approached Sulistyaningrum and excitedly told her, “Ma’am, last week we had lots of fish near the village. That hasn’t happened in a long time.”
On March 22, eight local conservation leaders in the Andes launched Pride campaigns to coincide with the celebration of World Water Day. These campaigns focus on ensuring the sustainable use of Andean cloud forests in order to protect the delicate ecosystems and species that call them home and to help preserve clean drinking water for thousands of people downstream.
To see these campaigns in action, world-renowned photographer Jason Houston visited Rare’s campaign site in Nueva Cajamarca, Peru, which is one of 12 projects in Latin America creating innovative agreements for watershed protection.
The World Water Day parade and event in Nueva Cajamarca launched Rare Conservation Fellow Rina Gamarra’s Pride campaign —Rare’s signature program that engages the community to build pride around unique natural assets through marketing. A packed day of events introduced the community to the campaign’s slogan, mascot and messages. Photographer Jason Houston documented the campaign activities in Nueva Cajamarca and a visit to the upland ecosystem the campaign is trying to protect.
Gamarra’s Pride campaign highlights water use awareness and community participation in innovative agreements between upland farmers and downstream water users along the Rio Yuracyacu, an Amazon river tributary in the Alto Mayo.
You can see Jason's photos from his trip and a video of the World Water Day parade in Nueva Cajamarca here:
Rare is excited to introduce our thirteen newest Rare Conservation Fellows who are focused on "Reciprocal Water Agreements (ARA) and Biodiversity in Latin America." This is the second time that RARE is applying the "Pride" methodology in combination with ARA mechanisms, seeking to become a pioneer organization in establishing such conservation agreements, through its partners in the Andean countries and Mexico. These fellows will adapt and replicate demonstrated conservation solutions. Effectively implementing a community-based solution means providing economic incentives, training in more sustainable practices, accessing new tools and technologies, as well as changing attitudes and social norms. The fellows inspire people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique, while creating real incentives and alternatives to change environmentally destructive behaviors. Fellows who successfully complete their two-year projects earn a master’s degree in communication with an emphasis on conservation. Rare’s training program has been accredited by The University of Texas at El Paso, a leader in social marketing. We are so excited to share many more updates on their work, challenges, and successes over the next two years!
Why is your work with Rare important to you?
"It's a very important moment in my life and work. Since childhood I have developed work in rural communities and I have high expectations of how to make these communities settled in Los Angeles Basin, Alcalá-Ulloa municipality,Colombia conserve their environmental resources, which are the basis of their life and productive, community, social, and cultural activities. I am very excited and pleased to have been selected in this group, sharing with peers from different countries, with different abilities and cultures."– Gina Julieta Marín Ospina
What do you think has or will motivate landowners in the watershed to adopt sustainable practices?
- Georgina Vidriales
What challenges do you face?
”One of the main challenges we’ve had has been the negotiations with landowners. There are people and owners who we need to visit constantly in order to earn that trust that facilitates reaching agreements to be able to help each other. Another issue that needs to be taken into account is the training of technicians, so that they are knowledgeable and can inform the public about what they are paying for; and also be able to teach landowners, farmers or ranchers about the impacts of their positive actions, which are the base of the PES agreements...”– Jimmy Leonardo Cuenca Satama
What do you enjoy most about working with Rare and the other conservation fellows?
“What I enjoy the most is the interaction with the Rare team, and the Campaign Managers. Particularly, I enjoy seeing the Campaign Managers enthusiastic about the activities; it is nice when everyone has the spirit of participation, as this group has.”-Alan Hesse
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