ABOUT THE GILI ECO TRUST
HOW WE STARTED
Gili Eco Trust, or Yayasan Ekosistem Gili Indah, is an NGO based on Gili Trawangan. It was founded in 2002 to protect coral reefs around the Gili islands from destructive fishing. In 1999 local fishermen founded the SATGAS to patrol the waters around the three Gili islands. Back then, the reefs were frequently fished with dynamite and cyanide, destroying all the coral and killing the aquatic life inhabiting the reefs. Coral reefs had been left in a disastrous state after the intense El Niño in 1997-1998. The local population reacted and organized patrols to eliminate and educate against the bad fishing practices. An agreement was created between the fishermen, defining the legal techniques of fishing, limited to certain authorized zones, in an attempt to eradicate destructive fishing methods for good.
To support the SATGAS, the main dive shops on Trawangan established the NGO Gili Eco Trust in 2002. The idea was to encourage a reef donation of 50,000IDR (€4, US$5) per diver, to financially assist the initiative of SATGAS. This donation was chiefly used to pay the SATGAS employees, to place buoys to limit anchoring, to restore the reefs, and to organize many other environmental projects to protect and restore the natural environment around the islands whilst boosting sustainable tourism.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
The Gili Eco Trust has grown and expanded its activities from marine conservation to waste management and sustainable eco-tourism. In 2004, Gili Eco Trust started the Biorock project. The creation of artificial reefs and restoring the natural habitat of thousands of fish in previously destroyed and overfished areas of the reef.
Gili Eco Trust also supports the FMPL, (Front Masyarakat Peduli Lingkugan) the waste collection and management organization on Gili Trawangan.
Making daily waste collections to processing recyclable materials and transporting them off the island.
Along with these two campaigns, there are many smaller eco-projects which you can read more about on this website, such as working horse healthcare clinics and educational workshops for kids, tourists and hospitality staff and eco-touristic initiatives.
Our mission is to create a sustainable island. To promote ecotourism and provide a healthy environment for working animals. To restore our coral reefs and to replenish our natural fish populations. To ensure that all waste created on Gili T is reduced to minimum levels and managed and separated properly for recycling projects where materials can be transported off the island.
To ensure the livelihoods of the local community is enhanced.
- Creating a series of coral nurseries to promote young coral growth in new areas
- Installing moorings to create more parking space for boats to eliminate the use of anchors
- Solidify the 5-bin-separation strategy so all households and resorts can effectively separate their trash to maximise recycling
- Manage the island TPST as an integrated waste management hub of the island and increase more employment in the waste and sustainability sector.
- Continue to hold a beach clean up at least once a week to engage tourists, ex-pats and the local community to work together to keep beaches clean and raise awareness.
- Initiate more schemes like RefillMyBottle to encourage less single-use plastic use amongst tourists and backpackers
- Ensure that the working horses of Gili are treated under humane and acceptable conditions, teaching properly care and handling and providing free healthcare and checkups at organized clinics or whenever needed
- A zero-waste-to-landfill approach to an island community, using methods in recycling, repurposing, composting and eventually waste to energy initiatives to create a net-zero island.
- Start the Eco Rangers patrolling. A green police force who will educate and empower businesses and the local community to look after their environment for a sustainable future.
INTERVIEW WITH OUR FOUNDER
Introducing our very own changemaker Delphine Robbe!
The reason why she made it her lifelong mission to save Gili Trawangan and its coral reefs. (First 5 minutes in Dutch, the rest is in English!)
- Jumat Bersih: cleaning the island weekly with school kids and local community introduction and education at the local school about sustainable tourism and environment.
- Start of the animal welfare projects with cats and horses. clinics, fresh water for horses, sterilisations
- Start advising the FMPL about horse care and health and how to sort waste at the dump.
2009 / 2010
- Access road and wall around the dump build. Incinerator was provided, but never really used.
- 1,500 of coloured bins ordered for 3 islands. A four day event at the local schools followed to teach about waste separation from source.
- GET pushing FMPL to recycle more and organise better waste collection.
- Debris Free Friday is established.
- Fundraising and project management plan for more recycling, composting and glass upcycling project.
- Food waste collections and composting established.
- Gili Trawangan’s first Bank Sampah recycling facility is built.
- Glass collections from bars begins.
- Five-Bin-Collection scheme begins with PT Sama Sama Tiga Gili.
- FMPL takes over PT SS3G with MOU with local government and everything easier when yayasan
- Application to CSR Mandiri for waste collection vehicles. They granted two pick up trucks and 3 kaiser (3-wheeled cart)
- Waste forum created for better communications for the future of Gili T
- Applications for Eco-Rangers with successful sponsorship from Coca Cola ID
- Application retracted and redirected after the Lombok earthquakes.
- Independent fundraising for Eco Rangers begin.
Challenges & Opportunities
- Lack of existing infrastructure within Indonesia
- Lack of awareness of the long term consquences of pollution, damage to the ecosystem and overdevelopment
- Cultural differences will always be something we need to work with as values are very different amongst local Indonesians
- Changing behaviour is slow
- Cost is always an issue for a population which lives close to the poverty line. Choosing disposal plastic is often the cheapest option and changing products is a luxury many Indonesians do not have
- Limited resources and a small team. Although we receive a lot of volunteers on the island each year, it is very transient. Most people move on after 3 months – 2 years at most. Maintaining in house expertise is difficult and therefore our team have to work extremely hard
- The covid pandemic has brought tourism to a halt and as a result we have significant challenges in raising funds to continue our work
- Growing desire amongst tourists for eco-friendly destinations can help drive change in local behaviours
- Individuals creating initatives which we can support without using all our resources, for example Cats of Gili, Suparman’s Treevolution
- Volunteers very often bring experience and relevant expertise which we are able to harness to improve how we work