18 June 2015

The project’s main focus is to change attitudes towards the local biodiversity, especially the critically endangered crested macaque. This species is mainly found in the Tangkoko-Duasudara Nature Reserve, commonly called ‘Tangkoko’, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Mathilde Chanvin, funder and coordinator of the programme, has sent us an update from the project, keeping us up to speed with what has been happening in Sulawesi and some of the results she has been reporting through to us are extremely positive.

“In order to assess the efficiency of the programme in increasing knowledge and changing habits and behaviour of our participants, we distributed a pre-programme and post-programme evaluation questionnaires to 311 pupils, 16 school staff and 95 pupils’ parents who took part in the programme in 2013-2014.

Establishing a positive impact on knowledge, attitude and habits of local communities is a long-term objective. Nevertheless, the results show that the pupils who have started to participate in our programme for the first, second or third time are changing in a positive way already.

Students learning about the biodiversity in Tangkoko. Photo credit Tangkoko Conservation Education
Students learning about the biodiversity in Tangkoko. Photo credit Tangkoko Conservation Education

“The first analyses of our evaluation questionnaires given to the pupils show that those who took part in our project have significantly improved their knowledge about their local environment and have intended to change their attitudes and habits towards local wildlife in a more sustainable way.

“We have noticed that they also have a better understanding of the endangered and protected status of the crested macaque: their attitudes have improved regarding how they react when encountering them in the forest: For example, the children declare that they implement less disturbing activities towards macaques, such as touching or feeding them.

Students observing the macaques in the forest. Photo credit: Tangkoko Conservation Education
Students observing the macaques in the forest. Photo credit: Tangkoko Conservation Education

“These results confirm that our education programme can have a positive effect on the protection of crested macaque and Tangkoko forest.

“We have now finished our 5th school year programme! During this year we have involved 18 schools, including 3 new new ones: One in Danowudu (situated next to Tangkoko), one in Airmadidi (North Minahasa region) and one in Tuminting (Manado’s suburb). We will keep you posted about the next school year, which will start in September 2015!

Students learning about the crested macaques. Photo credit: Tangkoko Conservation Education
Students learning about the crested macaques. Photo credit: Tangkoko Conservation Education

“Going forward, we would like to build an education centre in Batu Putih, open after school and during holidays. As well as providing a practical work-space for our staff, this centre is envisaged as an activity centre for the youngsters of Batu Putih (e.g. games, activities, library etc.). It would also constitute a meeting point, where we can run seminars, and film projection on about conservation for the local community. Ultimately, we would like to open a centre for local and international volunteers to help develop our education activities.”

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this fantastic project! We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any future developments.