Sandwatch pilot project launched in two schools in Lhoknga, Aceh, Indonesia
After training workshops held in Wakatobi in December 2012 and in Nusa Penida in February 2013, the third Sandwatch pilot project in Indonesia has now been initiated. Sandwatch training for students and teachers was held in Lhoknga, Aceh, on 8-9 March 2013.
Lhoknga, located in Aceh Besar district close to Banda Aceh, has a beautiful long coastline. It is rich in coastal and marine biodiversity, and is also where sea turtles lay eggs during September to May. The area, though completely devastated in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, has now been rebuilt. Fishermen have reported negative impacts from the tsunami on the coastal environment, including destruction of corals, and efforts to conserve the coastal environment have now begun.
UNESCO has partnered with the Jaringan KuALA (Koalisi untuk Advokasi Laut Aceh, or Advocacy Coalition for Aceh Sea), a local NGO working on coastal and marine conservation issues, to implement Sandwatch activities in Aceh. The objective of the Sandwatch pilot project is to strengthen existing local curriculum on coastal environment by emphasizing school-based, hands-on beach monitoring.
The first Sandwatch training in Aceh was held in secondary school SMAN (Sekolah Menengah Atas Negeri) 1 Lhoknga on 8-9 March 2013. There were over 40 participants, most of whom were students and teachers from 2 schools (SMAN 1 and MTSN (Madrasah Tsanawiyah Negeri) 1 Lhoknga). Representatives of government institutions (both at the district and provincial levels) and other NGOs in the KuALA network also participated in the workshop.
During the 2-day training, students in Lhoknga learned about the Sandwatch methodology and how to monitor the beach parameters, such as beach debris, weather & climate, sea turtles, water quality, and mangroves. A field visit was carried out to Lhoknga beach where the students practised the methods to measure beach parameters they learned during the workshop. In addition, they also began drafting school workplans on Sandwatch activities for the coming few months. The students will start implementing monitoring activities by end March.
The training was enriched by participation of traditional fishermen leaders (panglima laot), who gave a presentation and answered questions from the students and teachers.
If your school is interested to join Sandwatch or you need further information on Sandwatch pilot project in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, please contact Lisa Hiwasaki (l.hiwasaki(at)unesco.org).
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