30 Apr 2020
From time to time, the youth is getting a more important role in every aspect of life, including the environmental aspect. We have heard about Greta Thunberg, a 15 years old teenager from Swedia that inspired the world on fighting against climate change. In Indonesia, we also have so many inspiring youth leaders, one of them is Zulfikar, a 24 years old that from 2017 has done a great work which is mangrove restoration and also clam farming in Alue Naga Village, Banda Aceh.
It started from schoolwork, Zul found a sad fact that there are so many people live on the poverty line. That fact moved him to create a community development program for the people. “I want to improve the living standards of Alue Naga people. I cannot understand why a village with great natural resources could become the poorest village in Bande Aceh,” he said.
As a part of Biodiversity Warriors (BW). Zul wrote a proposal to Yayasan KEHATI to buy mangrove seedlings and tools for clam farming. He thought that mangrove restoration should be done together with community development. The conventional way of clam hunting does not give a good amount of money for the people. On the other side, mangrove destruction caused by the tsunami in 2004 worsen the condition of the Alue Naga people.
“When the mothers hunt for the clams in conventional ways, they only get Rp10-15 thousands a day for 6 hours. Not only the small amount of money they get, but they will also lose their time with their beloved children,” he said.
Zul developed the modern clam farming methods called floating culture. Cars or motorbikes old tires are used for the floating cage. This method only needs 4 months before it could be farmed and also it did not take time, only 2-3 hours are needed on the water every day.
Floating culture gives a positive result, there was a significant increase in income. People could get Rp100-150 thousand a day. Until 2019, 75 people had moved to the floating culture methods. For the mangrove restoration, 5-6 hectares of mangrove restored successfully.
Other stakeholders are interested in Zul’s program, such as Local NGOs from Aceh, Universities, and the Banda Aceh government. Zul hopes that stakeholders will keep supporting his program, especially the local government. There are still 10 hectares of mangrove needed to get restored and around 200 clam farmers that still using old methods.
“KEHATI Foundation thinks that the youth as the agent of change who is going to be an actor on biodiversity conservation program in Indonesia. I hope there will be another youth like Zul and KEHATI will keep supporting the sustainable nature for the people now and the future,” said Riki Frindos, Executive director of KEHATI Foundation.