Building Socio Economic Resilience of coastal community for the sustainability of Kuala Gula Mangroves

Building Socio Economic Resilience of coastal community for the sustainability of Kuala Gula Mangroves

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mangroves play a very important role in maintaining coastal fisheries, protecting against erosion and sequestering and storing carbon. Degradation of mangrove resources leads to lowered resilience of the coastal system, and resulting in the increase in vulnerability of coastal communities. Building socio economic resilience by promoting innovative and good practices in the Kuala Gula community through Friends of Mangroves (FOM) is crucial for the sustainability of Kuala Gula Mangroves in Malaysia.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Much of the mangrove forests have been largely degraded and destroyed by unsustainable felling of mangrove trees, reclamation for aquaculture, housing and commercial development. These have led to negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. These problems need to be addressed through better protection and rehabilitation of the mangroves in villages and adjacent areas. Well protected mangroves will also enhance fishery resources and create income opportunities from ecotourism. Although they are a major stakeholder, local communities have been identified as the “missing link” in all efforts and initiatives with regard to national mangrove rehabilitation. The development of a concept of community based mangrove conservation programme is to actively involve the community in mangrove rehabilitation initiatives. The long term goal of this project is to support the joint effort by the Government and community to conserve and protect mangrove resources through rehabilitation and sustainable management practices.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

“Friends of Mangroves” (FOM) Kuala Gula is meant to be a pioneer mangrove rehabilitation programme involving local stake holders especially the local communities to rehabilitate, monitor and conserve degraded mangrove forested areas. Under this on-going programme, the community will be physically involved in the setting-up of nurseries, organize mangrove planting with community/ student/ volunteer groups, maintain the up-keep of the plantation sites and develop eco-tourism products. They will also take part in economic activities, as well as, related activities organize by the other stakeholders under this on-going mangroves based sustainable livelihood programme. Global Environment Centre (GEC)’s role is to engage and work with community groups and encourage their participation through consultation, education (capacity building), awareness programme and to strengthen the working relationship between local communities and relevant agencies. FOM is also a community development program which help to enchance the community’s skills and knowledge in resource management. Local communities are trained in different aspect from mangroves ecology, activities facilitation to nature guiding, mangroves based product development, developing ecotourism packages, accounting etc. The knowledge, skills and experience gained will enable the stakeholders to continue the rehabilitation efforts and replicate the community model elsewhere to ensure the sustainability of the mangroves resources in Malaysia. This model will help to conserve and protect mangrove resources through rehabilitation and sustainable management practices and building the socio-economic resilience of the coastal community through smart partnership and bottom up approach.
About You
Global Environment Centre
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Sing Yun

Last Name



Global Environment Centre


, SL

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Global Environment Centre

Organization Phone


Organization Address

No.78-2, Wisma Hing, Jalan SS 2/72, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Organization Country

, SL

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, PK

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?

Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

Community based mangroves conservation programme that integrated into ecotourism activities has created added value to the visitors and local communities. Through the FOM activities, visitors get to learn about the threatening mangroves ecosystem, participating in rehabilitation of the degraded mangroves forest and supporting the community livelihood at the same time. This is a cutting edge approach where tourism can contribute to the community livelihood and promoting sustainable use of natural resource. Participants/visitors who support the FOM activities have gained hand-on experience and take action to help the environment and support the community effort.


On-going strategic and formal training is important and is planned to enhance the skills and knowledge of the community in the mangrove rehabilitation and developing sustainable livelihood. Understanding of the importance of mangroves in protecting the coast and sustaining the fisheries industries that is crucial for fisherfolk livelihood will be stressed.

Networking and info-sharing activities are crucial to promote the community effort. The FOM website will be functions as a one-stop information centre and networking platform for organizations involved in mangrove conservation.

Although GEC has implemented Community-based projects in Kuala Gula since 2007, it is a fairly new concept in Malaysia and therefore it requires extensive effort and commitment from both the project team and the target community. To maintain the interest and long-term commitment of the local communities can be challenging and much focus and effort is needed to change their attitude and direct the communities toward unity.


Rehabilitation and Protection of the Existing Mangrove Forests
•20 ha of mangrove forest rehabilitated conducted with the involvement of local community/ students/ volunteers through ecotourism.
•50,000 mangrove seedlings raised and distributed to support other community groups in mangrove rehabilitation and conservation
•FOM patrol group established to enhance protection of mangrove forests within the State land forest.

Develop options for sustainable livelihood
•Conduct capacity building activities which incorporate awareness programme and skills development (for innovative and sustainable products).
•Implement community action programme to support the development of mangroves based products.

Improving the understanding of local communities and other stakeholders on mangrove ecosystems
•Awareness programmes organized for local villagers and other stakeholders at Kuala Gula, Perak in conjunction with environment theme days.
•Promote community based mangrove conservation programme through FOM website to support the sustainable use of mangroves.
•Sharing of information via media, public forums and other available platforms with relevant stakeholders

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The voices of the Kuala Gula community in protecting the mangroves for their livelihood and coastal protection needs to be heard and this will only be achievable through the unity of the local community. However, individualism among members of the communities is common and much focus and effort is needed to change their attitude and direct the communities toward unity. Positive change has been observed in some individuals but there is still room for improvement. Thus, the establishment and set up of the FOM Kuala Gula needs to be strengthened and formalized to prepare the community in moving towards a much stronger institutional set up.

A community based project should be a long term project if it is to deliver good results and impact to the people. It is crucial to incorporate alternative livelihood options and an independent project targeting the stakeholders from the government agencies into the current community-based mangroves conservation programme. Thus, ongoing fund-raising for the community based mangroves rehabilitation programme in Kuala Gula is very important to ensure the sustainability of the project and to achieve the final goal of long term mangrove conservation and costal protection in Perak.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Commitment of the stakeholders
Mangrove conservation and rehabilitation requires a change of perception, determination and a lot of hard work in order to improve the degraded site and conserve the existing mangroves. Possible risks arise from the reliance on the commitment of the local communities and willingness of the stakeholders to participate throughout the programme.

Funding constraints
The programme required more effort and time than was anticipated in the project implementation because the FOM members still require special guidance due to a lack of confidence and commitment among some of the members. Source of funding for GEC to support the on-going capacity building of the stakeholders is limited and much work plan is pending due to fund constraints.

Political Will and Cooperation of multi-stakeholders
Coastal and riverine protection requires foresight, strong political will and technical assistance to ensure the success of the programme and it requires the joint effort of various stakeholders, including local communities.

Land status
The land status of the current rehabilitation sites is an issue of concern as some parties have previously expressed their interest to develop the area. Currently, the project site is classified as state land. Although it is a coastal buffer it may be subject to future development if community wishes and needs are neglected.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, PK

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Global Environment Centre

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Integration of different capacities, resources and expertise from the stakeholders is critical in order to achieve the common goal. Thus, smart partnerships with private sector, government, NGOs and local community should be the way forward. The innovation will not be successful without the policy support and endorsement by the government agencies, financial support of the private sector and common understanding from the stakeholders.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1.Capacity building of the local community to have forward thinking and independent in sound decision making, handling FOM operation and using their natural resource wisely to achieve the sustainability of the mangroves resources.

2.Funding to support the continues effort of FOM in phase II which involved ecological mangrove rehabilitation that required technical assistant from international experts and international exposure and in house capacity building for GEC project team.

3.Promotion of FOM efforts at the international level to gain donors attention to support such grassroots effort which focusing on cutting edge and bottom up approach in Malaysia. Besides, this will enhance the networking with other conservation practitioners and promote exchange of experience and lessons learnt.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Much of our natural resources has been over exploited due to the ignorance of the public and stakeholders on the impact of unsustainable use of natural resources. Mean while, there are local communities that wanted to make changes on the ground but their voices are not heard and their role in conserving the environment has been neglected. Thus, community based conservation effort should be initiated and greatly promoted in Malaysia to ensure the sustainable livelihood of coastal community and to protect and rehabilitate the degraded environment for better future. The action needs to be taken on the ground by local communities to make an effective change.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

This is a group initiative and effort of GEC team to implement the holistic approach in mangroves conservation through community effort and public participation. However, the project will not be possible without the great support and seed grant from Tan Sri Razali Ismail, a distinguished Malaysia diplomat and member of the Board of Director of the GEC. His inspiration and passions in conserving the environment and helping the coastal community has initiated the first FOM project in Kuala Gula, Perak,Malaysia.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

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