Padangbai is a small coastal village in eastern Bali, Indonesia near Candidasa. It serves as a ferry port for travel to Lembar on Lombok, The Gilis, and other of the Lesser Sunda Islands. When not inundated by travelers in transit, it has a laid-back vibe and its accommodation, eating, and drinking options are solidly geared towards the backpacker and diving markets. The main sources of livelihoods for local residents are tourism, fishing, logistics, and transportation.
The small village of Padangbai is a crowded hub for tourists traveling from Bali to the islands of Lombok and Nusa Penida. A village on the rise, the rate of urban development has led to the rise of human disturbances from oil runoff, marine debris, destructive fishing, and unsustainable tourism. As a result, the coral ecosystem of Padangbai that was once pristine, has mostly been destroyed .
As a popular tourist destination, people of Padangbai rely on tourism as a major source of livelihood. The corals also play an important part of their livelihood, seeing as the locals often take guests out to snorkel around nearby coral reefs. Having operated in Padangbai for a few years, Livingseas Asia has realized the importance of restoring the coral reefs towards the locals’ livelihoods, and therefore shares our vision to help rehabilitate the damaged coral reefs.
However, many local communities have felt the impact of the pandemic. Many people got jobless during the declining rate of tourists coming to Bali. Head of the Padangbai Harbor and Port Authority (KSOP) Office, Ni Luh Putu Eka Suyasmin said that during the COVID-19 pandemic the number of passengers at the Padangbai port decreased by 95 percent, and logistics vehicles fell by 50 percent.
The island of Bali, being one of the favorite destinations for both local and foreign tourists, was hit the hardest because of the pandemic. Therefore, programs are able to support local communities’ livelihoods by initiating social initiatives and advancing social capital through coral rehabilitation.
Carbon Ethics, in collaboration with Livingseas Asia, is preparing to launch a new program to empower the youths of Padangbai – The Youth Fellowship program. Ultimately, this program is our effort to provide a platform for young women to inspire and enable action within their local community. We aim to equip them with important tools in marine conservation, such as scientific diving and coral reef rehabilitation in hopes of encouraging a new generation of passionate individuals willing to play their part in the fight against the climate crisis. Moreover, we also provide conservation leadership, communication fundraising, and community empathy training.
Conservation Leadership Mentoring is a training targeting local youth women to increase their capacity building in leadership skill and increase their awareness for marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs. By providing leadership training, we will create the local champion or environmental activist for the coral reef conservation that is initiated by young people. Moreover, Fundraising Communication Training is a training that aims to instill a fundraiser mindset – how to communicate effectively to donors and methods that can be used to seek funding for the long term sustainability program. Last but not least, the Community Empathy program aims to instill a sense of awareness, a sense of belonging, and a sense of responsibility in the selected participants so that they can make a real contribution based on their own desires to the community around them.
During the course of the Program, we intend to empower 4 young women from Padangbai to be a part of the youth fellowship program. In addition to learning the more technical aspects of marine conservation such as diving, they will also be learning about skills in fundraising, community empathy, and conservation leadership. At the end of the program, we hope to establish a new community of women conservationists to support us in carrying out our work to restore the coral reefs of Padangbai.