Across the world, COVID-19 is impacting vulnerable coastal communities such as Demak, Northern Java. Here, the Building with Nature Indonesia consortium is working with coastal villages to reduce erosion, rehabilitate mangroves and revive local livelihoods.
The villagers own and maintain temporary structures that trap sediment and enable mangroves to recover – and receive income from this activity. The pandemic has impacted project activities, employment, the local economy and social order.
Early on in the pandemic, Demak villages, assisted by Wetlands International, initially closed and restricted access to non-residents. This meant that some Building with Nature activities such as group meetings and monitoring these structures, were temporarily put on hold until a different way of working was found.
Consequentially, Wetlands International spent the last few months establishing work methods in line with COVID rules, while meeting virtually to be able to continue coastal restoration. Today, Demak is still on high alert, but community activities are taking place again, with following strict local government health protocol.
Through virtual trainings and workshops, the team has enabled:
- Virtual training on specific wetland restoration techniques such as how to build semi–permeable structures for sediment trapping
- Virtual training on techniques for monitoring and evaluating restoration activities
- Virtual focus group discussions and consultations at the national and sub–national levels to continue to build policy support for Building with Nature in Indonesia
- Wetlands International’s Whatsapp network has allowed coastal communities from various villages to continue to share their coastal problems – such as erosion, land subsidence, sea level rise – and find solutions
Although a steep learning curve, these alternative work methods have allowed Wetlands International to progress coastal resilience work. In the last month, Demak has unfortunately suffered tidal flooding and extreme weather. Buildings including an information centre, schools and homes are all flooded.
The one thing we all want for 2021 is to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthy wetlands are vital lifelines for people struggling to survive through the pandemic. In this special appeal, we share how Wetlands International is adapting to enable wetland recovery where it’s needed most for nature and people – from the Pantanal in Brazil to the Saloum Delta in Senegal, Java and Sumatra, Indonesia and Kumpang in Malaysia.
You can help Wetlands International continue its work to train communities, rebuild flooded villages and continue coastal restoration in Indonesia. Donate today.