To support President Clinton's request to aid villagers in Aceh Besar, Wetlands International is committing to four activities:
1) Perform a community needs assessment and formalize the appropriate coastal restoration program
2) Facilitate the development of community group to implement the program
3) Carry out awareness raising and training programs on restoration for the local community
4) Engage local community in restoration activities
The commitment will be achieved by deploying senior facilitators and specialists to perform these activities. Wetlands International's senior specialists in fisheries, socioeconomics, coastal rehabilitation, and GIS will carry out Activity 1, and senior facilitators in the village, staying within the community, will carry out the remaining activities, and facilitate the community group.
Wetlands International will also carry out an assessment of the impacts for the communities and coastal ecosystems of their prior Green Coast project in Aceh and share the findings and learnings of this assessment with the local communities of Aceh, the Indonesian government (local and national), and international stakeholders.
Wetlands International is also currently implementing the 'Mangrove Capital' program in Indonesia, which will enable governments, private sector organizations, and local communities in Indonesia to manage mangroves, so that they play a more significant role in protecting vulnerable coasts and supporting the local economy. Building on cutting edge research on mangrove values and services, Mangrove Capital will support the development of improved coastal management policies and will influence existing mangrove initiatives. Furthermore, it will catalyze some new large-scale pilot projects, developing and testing innovative options to use mangroves as key components in coastal defense and aquaculture developments. Insights and experiences will be communicated in other regions. This program will offer the opportunity to scale up the community-based initiatives in Aceh.
The program in Layeun village will be implemented through the following steps:
- September 2014: Wetlands International will deploy a facilitator and senior specialists to perform the preliminary community socialization and community need assessment.
- October 2014: facilitator will facilitate the establishment of two community groups (25 members per group, total 50 members). They will discuss the recommended activities from assessment with the community groups and developed an agreed work plan and contract. This work plan describes the activities that will be carried out by the group members (e.g.: restoring the degraded coastal ecosystems combined economic /livelihood development) and relevant trainings will be provided. The contract will provide the two community groups with conditional loans (max ,000 per group), which will be disbursed to the groups based on the performance in implementing the rehabilitation tasks.
The community's participation in land rehabilitation (starting from the planning stage, then preparing, planting, and nursing the seedlings) will be linked to the provision of incentives in the form of business capital loans (free of both collateral and interest). Successful survival of the planted seedlings (i.e. >75 percent at least until end of contract period) will automatically convert the loan into a grant; however, if fewer than 75 percent survive then the community is obliged to repay an appropriate proportion of the loan to the project owner. All the conditions (the community group's rights and obligations) pertaining to the provision of the business capital tied to rehabilitation success will be contained in a work contract, witnessed by community leaders. Under this initiative, each group will be requested to rehabilitate about 24 acres of degraded coastal areas with about 25,000 mangrove and/or beach trees species with economic developments they are encouraged to freely propose alternative livelihoods developments (e.g. fish, shrimp, chicken, duck, goat, cattle farm, or developing small scale enterprises).
- December 2014 - September 2015: the local community will implement agreed activities. The Facilitator will stay in the village, supporting communities in implementing the program. After month 12, the Facilitator will be withdrawn and local communities will be able to continue the program independently.
The 2004 Tsunami swept away everything along 800 km of the coast of Nangroe Aceh Darussalam, which caused the death and loss of 167,000 people, while more than 500,000 others lost their homes and livelihoods. For Layeun village (Leupung sub district, Aceh Besar district), the damage to fishing ships, trading facilities, and aquaculture ponds paralyzed the livelihood of coastal communities.
Ten years after the Tsunami, the villagers are still struggling to regain their livelihood in part due to the coastal ecosystem decimated by the Tsunami has not recovered. A healthy coastal ecosystem is necessary to support the long term sustainability of local fisheries, aquaculture, and other sources of income. Community based development program is the key first phase to working with stakeholders to restore the function of the coastal ecosystem. The development plan seeks to engage the root causes of degraded coastal ecosystems while simultaneously addressing other important community based issues.
Wetlands International has experience working with coastal communities to redevelop the sustainability of their coastal regions by providing a community-based needs assessment. Data and findings from the assessment is then used to formulate recommended activities. A bio-rights approach (linking ecosystem restoration and livelihood improvement through micro credits) will be embedded in the recommendation, and this approach was used successfully in a Green Coast project Wetlands International led in other areas of Aceh previously. To implement the program, community groups are established and a work plan is developed after the community-wide agreement. Awareness raising, technical guidance, and training are held to improve community's awareness and skills, so they will be capable to implement the program through completion and results are realized.
This commitment builds on more than 30 years of experience of community-based coastal conservation and restoration in Indonesia, and particularly Wetlands International's successful approach to empower communities in Aceh to restore the coastal environment following the 2004 Tsunami in the Green Coast project (2004-2008).
Wetlands International, through the Green Coast Project, facilitated 60 coastal ecosystem rehabilitation practices combined with endeavors to create alternative livelihoods in Aceh and Nias. This approach has produced good outcomes in terms of the community's participation in land rehabilitation and livelihood development. The same financial incentive system will be applied.
WII's project approach provides small, conditional loans to each community group (i.e. about $6,000 per group), shared equally with the total active individuals in the group. The total loans (about $12,000 for two groups), shared with 45 active individual group members, means each individual receives around, or slightly less than, $300. Such smalll loans hardly allow the community members to develop and improve their livelihoods. To improve community livelihoods, WII anticipates that a loan of about $2,500 per individual must be provided. With this amount, the community will have adequate working capital to improve their livelihoods.