In the last two weeks we have grown our school's own coral garden together with local and international partners. 1,643 coral fragments were planted. Of course, our students helped out. In addition to the ecological benefits, the coral garden serves as an educational platform for our students but also as a research platform for our national and international partners.
The coral garden is used to restore or expand the existing coral reef. A healthy coral reef is the basic requirement for an intact, marine ecosystem and contributes significantly to coastal protection. Furthermore, the coral garden serves as an ideal place for smaller fish to find shelter. They find protection in the corals and lay their eggs there.
The Child Aid Papua Coral Garden is intended to serve as an educational platform and offers added value for our students. Understanding and experiencing our world is, in our opinion, a first step towards protecting this diversity in the long term. We attach great importance to practical experience in our work and do not just want to impart theoretical knowledge. The idea of environmental protection is anchored and thus also understood through direct and personal experiences of the children and young people.
Working with experts, we use different coral planting methods to find out what works best in Raja Ampat:
Test 1: Wire instead of zip ties?
After our field officer from Child Aid Papua was allowed to attend a two-week training course at ‘Coral Guardian’ in Laboan Bajo in September 2019, what has been learned can now be put into practice. This is done with professional mentoring from local and international experts. Together with the organization ‘The Sea People’, it is being checked whether the method used in Laboan Bajo (wire instead of cable ties) also works better here. To find out, we are going to attach 50% of the corals to the iron structure with zip ties and 50% with wire. We hope, of course, that our future projects of ‘The Sea People’ can dispense with the use of cable ties (made of plastic). So far, no concrete results are available.
Test 2: With power or without power?
In cooperation with Coralive.org we would like to find out whether the coral fragments can grow better when electricity is applied than without. Here, too, there are no concrete results in the waters of Raja Ampat, but very good experiences have been made in other countries. Therefore we will electrify 50% of the coral fragments and use 50% traditionally. For both tests we will have meaningful results after around 12 months, which we can evaluate with our local partner ‘The Sea People’. Based on the results, the future coral projects of the ‘The Sea People’ foundation in Raja Ampat will be able to be implemented more efficiently and effectively.
Expansion of the waste management
The high amounts of waste, partly caused by the locals themselves, but often washed up by the sea, are still a great challenge for people and nature not only here in Raja Ampat. As part of our “Ocean Warrior” program, the local children independently collect rubbish in the village every Tuesday and dispose of it correctly. Child Aid Papua has now equipped the two villages Sawinggrai and Kapisawar with 7 large rubbish bins each. The aim is to train the locals in their understanding of the environment so that in future the children only have to empty the existing rubbish bins.
It is more and more common for children to reprimand an adult in the village if this garbage is thrown on the ground or into the sea. It's great to see that the adults even accept the criticism and, somewhat ashamed, pick up the rubbish again and then dispose of it fairly. As the saying goes ... ‘Constant dripping wears away the stone ..’ Child Aid Papua organizes regular meetings with the village government. We are pleased to note that there is an increasing rethinking of waste issues. Both the village chief and the church leaders called on the locals to make use of the rubbish bins. And, very nice for us, it is to accept the criticism of the children and young people regarding waste. As a further step, it is now even being considered that plastic bags may no longer be used in the two villages, and that other ‘single-use plastic’ should also be banned. If this were to be implemented, these would be the first two villages in all of West Papua that would ban ‘single-use plastic’ in everyday life.