In this series of articles, we spotlight conservation organizations working for ocean protection, as well as how you can help. Today we’re chatting with Delphine Robbe from Gili Eco Trust.
What does Gili Eco Trust do?
We are based in the Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Our main focus is to run reef-restoration projects using Biorock technology. We also have many other actions to protect the reefs around the Gili Islands. These include placing mooring buoys, patrolling with the government, waste-management programs, recycling and upcycling, and educating the local community about waste, climate change and the importance of oceans and coral reefs.
How and why did it start?
We started in 2001 after SATGAS formed (a group of young people from the islands) who wanted to defend their waters from dynamite fishing. Fishermen created SATGAS, and dive shops created the Gili Eco Trust to support SATGAS efforts. Gili Eco Trust donations collected by dive shops support their efforts. Then we expanded our projects to reef restoration, mooring buoys, education and reef protection, waste management. We focus on anything that helps conserve and promote the environment around the islands.
How many people are involved and what are their roles?
I am the project manager and coordinator, and we employ about 50 people, including 30 local people who work mostly with waste management and recycling. We have employees for rubbish collection, rubbish selection and transport of recyclables. Speed-boat captains work on patrols and other marine activities, and we also conduct horse and cat clinics with vets from abroad who teach and train our staff on basic care and interventions. There’s a rubbish bank (recycling), glass upcycling projects, an organic garden, and composting, etc. We also have between two and 10 volunteers and interns who are on the islands from a few days to few months, helping us on many projects as well as conducting some research and studies.
What are the main actions or areas of focus?
Anything that helps protect the reef and the local environment, as well as waste management, which is a huge problem around here. We are running several initiatives to raise awareness and tackle the waste issue.