Maximize Social and Economic Benefits to the Local Community and Minimize Negative Impacts

In such an interconnected world, working only towards isolated conservation is not enough, and not even the most efficient way to act. Many pure nature conservation projects are headed to failure since they tend to prioritise nature forgetting about the thousands of connections that nature has nowadays with the socioeconomic systems. Our sustainable tourism approach and following the GSTC criteria helps us walk the right path towards a multidisciplinary solution, that is both fair for ecosystems and for the local communities that have been relying on those natural resources for hundreds of years, having also a strong bond to nature that goes beyond economic values.

COMMUNITY WELFARE

The majority of our staff is from the neighboring villages, Yenbeser and Friwen, and without previous experience in the hospitality/diving industry or no working experience at all. We give them equal opportunities. We train them in different areas to develop their skills, and subsequently help them to acquire both experience and professional education. We provide decent labor rights, attractive incentives and remuneration as well as opportunities for advancement.

  • We take our staff and their working environment very seriously. That is why we have a harassment protocol to ensure safety for all of our workers. We periodically give feedback forms to our staff so that they can give us feedback on how their daily working life is and how to improve it if necessary.

We support local entrepreneurs in the development and sale of sustainable products and services that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture.

  • Homestay Accommodation: Promoting, guiding, and economically funding some of these cozy local administrated cabins. When others would see competition, we see how the prosperity of our community is our own prosperity in the long-term.
  • Jungle Excursions: In order to respect the environment and support local residents, some of our tours and excursions to see the birds of paradise are guided and administrated by local guides. Who better to show you the wonders of Raja Ampat that the people who was raised here and that lives here 365 days a year! We only act as the networker, but the payment is directly done with the guides, so we do not receive any benefits, apart from our guests happiness!
  • Wildlife interactions with free roaming wildlife around the resort! We make sure no species of wild animal is acquired, bred or held captive.
  • Cultural and Wildlife Interactions, through excursions to the villages. We recommend our guests visiting the neighboring indigenous villages, giving our guests a chance to be part of Papua’s daily life, making their visit something more cultural, socially responsible, as well as an explanation of appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites. It is also really benefitting for locals, since they give a vision of openness to the “outside world” which is very important for supporting the future of the tourism industry in the area, and by extension, the future of their employment, training, food security, education, health…

As stated before, we fervently believe in the idea that the progress and well-being of the local communities is our own well-being. In this way, and also following our social responsibility ethics, we actively support initiatives for the local infrastructure and social community development. Some examples are:

  • Incentives to the Local Government. The resort also provides incentives for officials from Yenbeser and Friwen who help and support our efforts to uplift the communities in the programs we organise.
  • Yearly Donations In the spirit of the festive season, each December we make our annual contributions to a number of our neighbouring villages. We have regular meetings with the elders of Yenbeser village to evaluate what is needed most. Since 2013, we have been giving Christmas food donations yearly to the four neighbouring villages: Yenbeser, Friwen,Saporkren, Wauyai. We supply each with over 700kg rice, 200kg sugar, 200kg flour, 50kg coffee, 20Kg tea, 5 boxes of condensed milk.
  • Clothes Programme: In 2019 we launched Children’s Clothing Collection – an initiative to help provide clothing for the children who need it most in local villages. We have been be asking guests to bring unwanted and grown-out-of items suitable for 0-12 years along to Biodiversity. We then distribute the clothes every 3 months in the classrooms of local villages.
  • English Teachers. Since 2016 we have had an English teacher as a paid employee to teach in the Kindergarden. This gives the locals the opportunity to become Anglophone tourist guides. One of the main problems in the area towards tourism is that local inhabitants do not speak English, or they just know a few words, which makes communication very difficult for them. In that sense, locals are not able to offer their services properly or develop their own business projects, which tie their hands in many situations. By giving English classes, we ensure that the kids from the villages get the needed level to maintain at least a simple conversation with tourist, increasing immensely their job opportunities.

Also, we equally give access to education for both girls and boys. In an environment in which normally girls will become mothers and housewives, providing education is the most direct and efficient way of empowering future women and to give them equal opportunities in life.

  • We have recently started this program and we already have 23 pupils. It is based on scholarships with the purpose of helping local students to achieve the highest possible education. We have already spent over 2,000€ and we continue to grow it.
  • We sponsor all university graduates paying their graduation fees. For those who finally decide and have the opportunity to access university, we happily act as a sponsor for them, providing the economic support that they need at the end of their studies to successfully graduate. Graduation fees in Indonesia’s university system are high and many families cannot deal with them. In this way, we help them to undertake this final step and we reward the hardworking students for all of those years of

FUNDING VILLAGE INFRASTRUCTURE

In cooperation with the kindness of our guest Lantern Project, who donated $1,000, we have built a Library. We encourage guests to donate books and increase the variety of our Library. Our aim is improving the learning capacity of our students on a long-term basis. We also use the infrastructure to give classes for the kids and also offer them a space to share time together playing or learning.

  • Under locals’ recommendations, we helped with the construction of an outside roofed area in the Kindergarten building, so that kids can freely play and express themselves.

FUNDING HEALTH PROJECTS

Health, education, food security and employment are probably three of the most important topics that institutions have to address when aiming to assure local communities’ well-being. In Biodiversity we know that without theses bases, nothing else matter or makes sense, and that is why we put much of our effort and resources into making sure these services are provided. In the first place we wanted to prioritise residents’ health to avoid further complications and suffering. A healthy community is a community that thrives, with the energy to work and grow efficiently and happy.

In 2019 we had two health programs, and one more in 2020. Our health project 20th August 2019 was our second one and it was a great success. We were able to receive 168 children and 65 adults. We proudly funded and invested many hours coordinating these necessary efforts. Many medicines were donated from local government hospitals to contribute with the program. Also, in our 2020 program we started to engage with Friwen Village.

The Program focused on providing essential health services to all children and adults of the village, such as Flu; checking uric acid levels, cholesterol, blood sugar; controlling blood pressure, possible skin infections, ulcers, among other basic health parameters. Even if it seems basic, these topics are the most important ones to address when supporting a community that lacks the resources, since most of them suffer from these general problems. Also, while doctors check patients, we might even be able to detect diseases in first stages and luckily to prevent the appearance of new ones.

In relation with food security and health issues, lack of complete and healthy diet has a much more profound effect over local communities that we might think. Actually, several studies have evidenced how lack of vitamins and micro-nutrients are essential for brain development, especially during young stages. That implies that deficient diets while growing up will have enormous negative effects over that person’s life, preventing them of becoming as successful and probably even happy as they would if provided with healthy food. In this way, supplementing or offering vitamins and complete healthy food has been proven to have huge positive impacts over local populations.

We started this program in 2020. It consists of a healthy nutritional meal every month in Yenbeser village. To mitigate the deficiencies of the local diet, we have followed the recommendations of the local health services and delivered a nutritional recipe: “Bubur Kacan Hijo” which means lentils porridge with coconut milk and brown sugar.

This is a traditional Indonesian recipe, and recommended by the local health department to compliment the deficiencies of the local diet. This “Bubur” is full of vitamins (calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K).

PROMOTING LOCAL PURCHASING

We value and incorporate authentic elements of traditional and contemporary local culture in our operations, design, decoration, and even cuisine. This not only benefits the landscape and overall aesthetic of the resort, but also shows respect for local communities and their art, at the same time that provides a source of income for local carpenters and artists.

We buy most of our fish directly from local fishermen. They do not use nets, only hand line, which is a sustainable way of fishing, and protecting towards the marine life in the reserve. We never consume reef fish. Buy only purchasing fish form the local fisherman we maintainthe traditional source of income for local fishers, which is one of the few job opportunities that inhabitants have in the area.

We have donated a coconut grinder machine to Yenbeser, so that local women can grind the coconuts faster, and stop damaging their fingers during the process. They make 100% raw organic coconut oil, which we purchase and use in all our cooking. Raw organic coconut oil has been proved as one of the healthiest oils in the world for human consumption, especially for cooking, since its saturated nature makes it much more stable when used under high temperatures. Its lauric acid has also been proved to prevent the appearance of bacteria, virus and fungi.

Another successful sustainable program, in which our main goal is to empower the local women. If this program did not exist, they would not have a source of income. They make their own veggie gardens and we buy whatever they grow, incorporating local vegetables into our menu. With these actions (cooking oil and organic gardens), we offer a way for women to have some income, so that they are not completely dependent of their working husbands. That dependency is completely related to women’s insecurity, since in case of abuses or just to follow their will, they would find themselves stuck in the house with their children and with no income to start a new life.

Our organization carefully manages the purchasing of consumable and disposable goods, including food, in order to minimize waste. Our purchasing policies favor environmentally sustainable suppliers and products, food, beverages and building materials. We always analyse best options in the market to find the balance between quality products, with a fair-produced and marketed origin and following sustainable recommendations such as aiming for locally produced goods.

  • All food is sourced locally in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and give our guests the chance to experience local products.
  • No MSG (glutamate) is used in our food.
  • We do not use any beef or pork to try optimizing sustainability.
  • We do not include shrimps in our menu, as shrimp trawling is the most destructive and unsustainable type of fishing.
  • We never use plastic straws.
  • We use locally produced coconut oil for cooking, and after that, wasted oil is recycled and used for restaurant table lighting.
  • We are continually growing plants in our garden to encourage the birds and butterflies’ population.
  • Most of our food is vegetarian or even vegan based. We try to reduce the amount of meat and fish that we consume in order to reduce our environmental impact. Generally, 4 of 5 dishes of each meal are delicious vegetarian meals. We are always happy to offer vegetarian or vegan alternatives for those who prefer not to eat animal products.

This is where we are in our sustainable path toward maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative Impact and to try and spread the wealth among the surrounding communities.This is how your visit will benefit the area.

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Responsibly addressing the physical pressures from tourism in rich biodiversity but fragile environments.

BECOME AN ECOTOURIST

Now it is your turn to enjoy Nature responsibly and become an example for other travelers. We hope that together we can preserve this paradise for generations.

University scholarships for Yenbeser Village youths, library and health programs are among our most proud efforts so far.

RAJA JUNE SEPTEMBER