The Village Development Program (VDP) aims to create sustainable economic development and self-reliance among coastal villages in the Riau Archipelago by addressing the key areas of skills, economic development and community empowerment through a number of individual projects. The key to success is idea generation and the establishment of a clear sense of ownership that will persevere beyond the sponsor’s initial investment.
Kura Kura The objective of the Kura Kura program is to assist local communities to develop artisanal products combining traditional and contemporary skills and knowledge, reaching out to both a local and international market. TIF has been working with villagers to provide critical market knowledge, quality control, product concepts, and skills training.
Football Academy of Bintan The objective of the Football Academy of Bintan or FAB is to provide village children and youth access to organized sports and fitness which also encompasses character building, village pride, community service and valuable interaction with teams from Singapore. FAB is wholly run by volunteers from the villages, with management and resource support from TIF. Six villages have joined FAB after going through an accreditation process that includes a charter for village coaches, parents and children. The village coaches are all volunteers and role models, providing a service to their village. TIF organizes certified coaches (volunteers) from Singapore to provide valuable training knowledge to the village coaches and children. FAB plans to organize an international tournament annually and establish a local Championship League where the village teams play each other on the weekends. The first international tournament was held in May 2013 and included a team from the Swiss School in Singapore, with the next one anticipated in April 2014. FAB has set up two nascent sources of income generation: 1) Village Shop where donated gear is sold at village prices with repurchase offered on well-looked after items; 2) Training camps run by certified volunteer coaches from Singapore offered at village prices for local children from all over Bintan.
Gone Fishing The specific challenges of marine pollution, falling fish stocks, disenfranchised subsistence fishing communities and a lack of awareness of marine conservation are all present in the Riau Archipelago. TIF has begun to engage the local subsistence fishing community to develop innovative programs that showcase their indigenous knowledge of marine management and conservation as well as to create a solid consensus on the protection and management of coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass and around other marine issues.
The Gone Fishing program aims to encourage local fishing communities to generate income through sustainable eco-tourism activities like mangrove tours, fishing and coastal education. TIF is currently developing a mangrove research and education tour with the Orang Suku Laut, or People of the Sea. Cultural, historical and scientific knowledge will be woven together to give the tour unique significance, while at the same time ensuring protection of the mangrove through empowering the community as teachers and conservationists. Additionally, the education information from the Gone Fishing program will be housed in TIF’s new learning center in the village, managed by the community and village children.
The ultimate vision of this program is to see the development of local marine conservation and education schools that are run by the indigenous fishermen as well as to create a conservation zone, protecting the coral reefs that stretch along the coast of East Bintan. The conservation zone will act as a nursery for fish and other marine life, sustained through educational programs and policed by local fishermen.