• Courtney Saville

The Island Foundation May 2020 Newsletter


Highlights - May 2020


Home Learning


The Island Foundation continued delivering home learning packs to our students throughout May, with a break for the end of Ramadan and Idul Fitri. While celebrations this year were rather unique, the break allowed for time with family, rest and reflection.


As school closures continue in Bintan without a clear end in sight, The Island Foundation has been redesigning the at home learning packs to ensure we achieve our program and learning objectives, and that our students are engaged and supported while at home.


With local travel between small villages likely to open up in the coming weeks, students across all eight Learning Centres will receive hard copy learning packs, with even more engaging content that promotes the development of critical thinking, confidence and collaboration, as well as English language skills.


Strategy Development and Program Redesign


We have commenced development of a three year strategy to guide The Island Foundation’s work to improve and strengthen our effectiveness, reach, and overall sustainability. The strategy will set the parameters for a redesign of The Island Foundation’s Education Program, with a focus on clarifying and packaging our curriculum, increasing engagement with local stakeholders, and developing a learning impact measurement system.


This work does not divert from our current efforts - rather, it seeks to consolidate and better communicate and focus our work so we can be relevant and impactful for our students and communities. We hope to have a published version of the strategy available later this year.


WiT Webinar


Courtney Saville, Executive Director at The Island Foundation, was interviewed by the wonderful Siew Hoon Yeoh from Web in Travel (WiT). A big thank you to Siew Hoon, WiT and everyone who joined us on the day!


In case you missed the webinar, we will upload and share a video of main highlights soon!


TIF Webinar Series


Inspired by the move to online learning, sharing and storytelling, The Island Foundation will be holding a series of webinars featuring leaders and champions from around Indonesia, including foreigners with direct experience in the country. The webinars, which will be conducted in Bahasa Indonesia, will highlight the amazing work of activists, educators, artists, journalists, small business owners and professionals across a range of sustainable development topics. Stay tuned for more next month..!


Learning Farm


As part of our response to the uncertainty that came with Covid-19 and the likely impacts on the economic and food security of small island communities, The Island Foundation established a Learning Farm at our headquarters in Malang Rapat, Bintan, Riau Islands.


Our committed team, notably Roni, Tintin and Riyo, continued to nurture and care for the Learning Farm during lockdown - often driving long distances in all sorts of weather!


Following local ecological knowledge, plus some tips from a permaculture and food security specialist and advice from Nikoi’s Bebe who manages the Kebun Reja farm, we have designed the Learning Farm based on the local environment and also nutritional needs. So far, we have planted and succeeded with: chilli, eggplant, tomato, long bean, papaya, banana, cassava, peanuts, passion fruit and ginger.


As many of you might know, the soil in Bintan is a reddish clay with high levels of bauxite deposits. It is not as easy to cultivate as the volcanic regions of Java, Bali and Lombok and presents its own unique challenges. Therefore, a process of trial and error is underway to expand our range.

We have had a lot of interest in the Learning Farm from the community and we hope that our harvests and lessons learned during this process will encourage others to grow food - because not only does it save money at the market, the quality and nutritional value is higher, we can avoid food waste, and we can improve soil quality over time.


For it is the soil that presents the biggest challenge to growing food in Bintan, as well as increased importation of produce from other islands and overseas. With less and less people growing their own food, communities can find themselves facing multidimensional risks; as a lack of food security can lead to a range of issues from economic, to social and environmental.


We hope that we can raise awareness about growing food, working with the land and organic produce with all of our partner communities. We aim to roll out Learning Farms at all of our Learning Centres for students and communities to reconnect with the land and its intricate systems.


Teacher Dani has already expressed interest for a Learning Farm in Kelong which is very exciting!

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