We have wonderful news to share! Saleh Lalu, our community partner from Bone Baru village, a small village in Banggai Island, Sulawesi, received a Kalpataru Nomination Award from the Ministry of Forestry and Environment as an environmental protector! Saleh is our champion, who has been working tirelessly to campaign on environmental issues in the Banggai archipelago, the home of the endemic Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni). He and his people have planted mangrove trees near his village on the coast, and have also rehabilitated the damage reefs, often without any financial resources. Saleh and his wife, Neni, initiated “Rumah Pintar” (“Smart House”), at their place, in order to help local village children to learn about the environment, and this has also included English lessons. This year, the Head of the Banggai Laut region supported the Rumah Pintar initiative with the provision of wooden structures in which the children can learn, read, and play.
We are so proud of Saleh and his team’s achievements in campaigning and being an example to other coastal villagers on how conservation and environment actions can be done at the village level for the benefit of everyone there.
For us, this is a great example of a local village community learning not only the ‘how’ but also the reason ‘why’ they need to take action and responsibility for the environment into their own hands. Saleh and his team have given others the initiative to protect and conserve the marine environment on which they depend. With the continued support of the Banggai Government and other local community stakeholders, we believe that Saleh’s efforts will continue to thrive and influence so many other people in protecting their local environment.
By Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley and Eveline Kurniati