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Marine Environmental Education for Children Indonesia

IOI Operational Centre Involved: IOI-Indonesia, located at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia Project Coordinator: Riani Widiarti

SUMMARY
Wise use and continuous preservation of the marine environment start from every human beings awareness of the need to participate in the protection and conservation of all marine life. This awareness must be inculcated from an early age. It is necessary, therefore, to develop a passion for the sea among the children and youth who attend elementary school (10-12 years of age) and junior high school (13-18 years of age). Jakarta, as the capital of Indonesia, and the areas surrounding the Seribu Islands Marine National Park were chosen as the appropriate locations for this project, which targeted children in the city as well as the small islands or rural areas. Contrasting locations were selected in order to understand the extent to which the urban areas, known as a source of major marine pollution, had influenced the rural areas with regard to the childrens understanding of the sea. The main thrust of the project was as follows:
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to provide the children and youth with a basic knowledge of the components of the marine ecosystem; to generate awareness of, interest in and passion for the sea so that the children and youth would participate in the conservation of the marine ecosystem; and to develop practical skills in how to protect and conserve the sea. The partners in the project included the local governmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation, the Laut Kita Foundation, the Tunas Foundation and Ligula Ecotourism Organizer. The project was implemented from 2005 until 2007, usually during four months (from March to July). The annual budget was around $9,000-$13,000.

targeted the coastal community, especially the young generation, with the objective of raising its awareness of the need to protect and conserve marine resources. The target group for the project comprised students from various elementary and junior high schools of the main island (mostly from the city of Jakarta) and small islands (Seribu Islands). Most of the students from the Seribu Islands came from the fishing community while students from the cities formed a diverse group. All the participants, however, represented the coastal communities, which had a direct or indirect impact on the coastal environment. At first, the motivation for the project came from a concern for the condition of the marine ecosystem. Later, however, there were requests from parents or teachers, who had seen the benefits that the children had received from an earlier training programme. The children were young and eager to learn something new. The project aimed to increase their knowledge of the beauty of the marine environment and teach them how to protect or conserve it.

BAC KG RO U N D A N D J U S T I F I C AT I O N
The Seribu Islands share many coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. Most of the marine resources in the area had been exploited for food, goods and medicines. Serious marine pollution and degradation had occurred in Jakarta waters and were becoming worse year by year. The problems were caused by the relatively low level of awareness of coastal people with regard to the need for conserving and maintaining their marine natural resources. Therefore, the project

CHALLENGES ADDRESSED
One challenge addressed was the lack of adequate knowledge among children (those in the city as well as on the small islands) about the marine and coastal environment. Their interest in the marine environment and marine organisms would need to be awakened in the hope

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that they would later engage in conservation and protection efforts. A further challenge was to make the training interesting for the children.

about the marine ecosystem: production of picture stickers, production of comic books; providing training classes;

OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the project were to: develop a basic knowledge of the marine ecosystem on the part of students; and increase awareness, interest and passion with regard to the sea so that the students would later help in protecting and conserving it.

holding competitions to enable the children to express their creativity and to find out the level of interest in and knowledge that they had of the marine and coastal ecosystem: story writing competition, drawing competition, marine campaign; and arranging field trips to provide practical knowledge about marine life and its conservation, with activities such as the following: snorkelling in the coral-reef area, releasing baby sea turtles into the sea, mangrove planting, coral transplantation, and bird watching.

PROJECT PLANNING
The planning was carried out through discussions with several related institutions on marine conservation activities. Field surveys were also undertaken to obtain information on the extent of the communitys interest in the project. In addition, the possible locations and the schools on small islands were inspected. The community was involved in conveying information to schools and other organizations about the training programmes.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND OUTCOMES


The awareness level and knowledge of the children concerning the marine environment and its conservation were increased. Children from the city showed their appreciation of the marine ecosystem, especially through a snorkelling trip where they could directly and closely observe the coral reef ecosystem.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES
The project activities were as follows: preparing publications to arouse the interest of children in learning

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Children from the small islands expressed their strong determination to protect their marine environment, especially when they recognized that their friends from the city showed feelings of amazement at the beauty of the marine ecosystem of their islands. By participating in writing and drawing competitions, children could freely express their interest in the marine environment and their intention to spark the interest of other people in its conservation. Through the field-trip activities, children from both communities (big cities and small islands) gained knowledge of marine organisms (corals, mangrove trees, reef fish, etc.), marine ecosystems (coral reef, mangrove area, etc.), and marine protected organisms (sea turtles, marine birds, etc.). They also developed skills in several conservation methods such as coral transplantation and the plantation of mangrove trees.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES


The following were strengths of the project: good networking with other NGOs and governmental institutions, especially for the use of field equipment and educational materials; participation and a high level of enthusiasm on the part of all participants, either from main or small surrounding islands, with respect to the main activities of the project, such as drawing/writing competitions and field trips; and high-quality human resources serving as members of the organizing committee or field instructors. Weaknesses of the project were: inadequate publicity among schools, especially on the small/ remote islands, as a result of which the project could not cover all the schools in the targeted areas; and social and educational differences among children from the mainland and small islands.

MONITORING A N D E V A L U AT I O N
Monitoring would be done by visiting the participant schools at a later stage. Discussions would be held with the students on initiating other activities regarding coastal issues. The visits would monitor the progress of students with regard to awareness of marine issues.

PA R T N E R S H I P S
The partners in the project included local NGOs such as the Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation, the Laut Kita Foundation, the Tunas Foundation and Ligula Ecotourism Organizer. The Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation, a not-for-profit

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organization, was the first NGO in Indonesia to focus exclusively on coral reef conservation. The Laut Kita Foundation is a professional organization concerned with marine environmental protection and conservation. The Tunas Foundation directs its activities towards creating childrens environmental awareness. Ligula Ecotourism Organizer is a professional organization concentrating on marine ecotourism that has already conducted several conservation programmes on the marine environment. The local government provided facilities for conservation activities during the field trip (baby sea turtles to be observed and released into the sea, or mangrove seeds for plantation) and also permission to enter conservation areas (coral reef areas, bird cages, sea-turtle nursery cages and others). NGO partners offered mostly human resources (educational staff or field instructors) and equipment for field trips (such as safety buoys and snorkelling equipment).

In the writing competition, the subject of marine ecosystem degradation was the most interesting for the children. On the other hand, the topic, marine organisms under the sea, was the favourite in the drawing competition. Cooperation with other NGOs contributed significantly to the project achievements.

REPLICABILITY
The project can be replicated in other areas or locations using the same methods.

D I F F I C U LT I E S

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LESSONS

The difficulties were almost the same as the weaknesses of the project, namely: less distribution of information on the activity to schools, especially on the small/remote islands, so that the project could not cover all of the schools in targeted areas; and social and educational differences between the children from the mainland and those from small islands. The lessons learned from the project were as follows: The competitions were conducted in order to determine the level of interest and knowledge that the children had about the sea and the

I N N O V AT I O N S
The innovations attempted by the project were as follows: Every year, one or two new activities were incorporated into the field trip. It was found that children were more interested in learning and understanding the concepts when there was a variety of conservation activities.

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marine ecosystem. From story writing and drawing competitions, it was possible to conclude that children from the city had as much interest in the marine environment as did children from the islands. By participating in the competitions, the children from the city showed their care for marine sustainability. Generally, however, they recognized the sea only theoretically and were not emotionally involved with it. Children from the islands recognized the sea as part of their life so their emotional involvement was greater as a result. Field-trip activity was organized in order to develop knowledge of marine life and its conservation directly in the field. Children from the city showed their fascination for the marine ecosystem through the snorkelling trip during which they could directly and closely observe the coral reefs. They also demonstrated their willingness to conserve the marine ecosystem and share their valuable experiences with others. Children from the islands also expressed their strong interest in protecting their marine environment, especially when they recognized that their friends from the city showed feelings of amazement at the beauty of the marine ecosystem of their islands.

FUTURE PLANS
Similar activities will be conducted every year, with different target groups of participants (elementary school to junior high school).

P U B L I C AT I O N S
Soepardjo, H., Widiarti, R. and Handayani, T. (2006). Youth and Children Programme: Marine Environment Education for Children. Coastal Zone Asia Pacific 2006. Batam, Indonesia. Widiarti, R. and Farid, M. A. (2007). Marine and coastal environment education for children, Journal of Sea Partnership, 2(1):1-7 (in Indonesian). Contact Riani Widiarti Center for Marine Studies Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Building A, 2nd floor University of Indonesia Depok Indonesia Tel.: 6221 77211473 E-mail: cms_ui@yahoo.com