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Overview and objectives
Zoning Plan and Conservation of Biodiversity
Alternative livelihoods
Reef Monitoring
Socio-economic profile


Community and Stakeholder Activities

Involvement of local communities was a key component of the project and several different approaches were used in order to reach and involve as many people as possible. One strategy was to run workshops and Stakeholder Meetings where issues and management options could be discussed, and the other was to organise Boatshows (marine Roadshows) and awareness activities that reached out to people living on the islands and mainland in the vicinity of the Park.

Boatshow Sebangkat 2006 © Elizabeth Wood
Boatshow Sebangkat 2006 © Elizabeth Wood

Three workshops were held in Semporna and were attended by SIDP and Sabah Parks staff, local government agencies and about 30 local community participants, representing the Local Community Forum. During these meetings the draft management proposals for the Park were reviewed and objections, concerns and points of agreement documented.

Boatshows in the Park

Three four-day boatshows were held in the first 9 months of the project and entailed travelling round all the settlements in the Park with information and inviting people to participate in discussions and provide feedback. All seven inhabited islands were visited, together with many of the separate groups of stilt houses on the Sebangkat-Selakan reef top.

Bajau Laut community Sibuan © Elizabeth Wood
Bajau Laut community Sibuan © Elizabeth Wood

The display material prepared for the boatshows informed and involved local communities in a variety of ways. Explanatory leaflets were produced in four languages – Malay, Bajau, Suluk and English, and large colour posters were developed to explain the proposed zoning plan and regulations.

The Boatshow presented a number of interactive activities. One was a large satellite image of the park overlaid with aerial photographs on which participants were asked to record place names, including beaches, headlands and so on. The aim of this is to ensure that local knowledge is recorded and used, so that the area maintains its identity and roots, rather than being given newly invented names by visitors.

Explaining zoning plan © Elizabeth Wood
Explaining zoning plan © Elizabeth Wood

Another map-based activity was designed to encourage local people to share and record their knowledge. People living in the Park know a great deal about their local environment and wildlife which is of immense value in the joint efforts to manage the Park and its resources. In this exercise, people were invited to mark the location of 5 rare or endangered species (reef shark, humphead wrasse, mouse grouper, giant triton shell and green turtle) with small coloured stickers. Drawing competitions and sticker book activities were organised for children, the aim being for the participants to have fun and also to learn about the way that humans interact with the reefs.

Filling in management feedback form Mantabuan © Elizabeth Wood
Filling in management feedback form Mantabuan © Elizabeth Wood

Structured questionnaires were used for the consultation exercise. Several hundred people were interviewed and efforts made to include all ethnic groups and ensure that women were well represented. The main aim was to record people’s opinions on aspects such as the Park zoning plan, fishing regulations and protection of endangered species. Participation was good, and the overall results showed a positive attitude towards the introduction of conservation measures.

An additional community programme was also carried out, specifically involving the Bajau Laut. This group are amongst the heaviest users of marine resources, relying on fish, shells and other produce for family consumption or sale, and having few other means of making a living. They are sometimes marginalised because they are nomadic and do not own land, but in terms of Park management, it is vital that their activities and needs are fully considered, and that they understand the objectives for the Park.


Bajau Laut community Sibuan © Elizabeth Wood


SIDP Education and Awareness Roadshow Jan-May 2007

One of the main aims of this Roadshow was to increase awareness of the existence and relevance of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, and to ensure that people inside and outside the Park were aware of the regulations and understood the zoning plan. Most importantly, the Roadshow spread the message that fishing and harvesting of natural resources in the Park is restricted and in future will be allowed only under permit from Sabah Parks. It also promoted the message that everyone can help make the Park a success by adhering to the regulations and reporting illegal activities such as fish blasting, and that this approach will bring benefits to local communities in the long term.

All the settlements in the Park were visited during the Roadshow, together with 43 selected kampongs on the mainland and adjacent islands. 17 schools were also part of the programme, and in addition, the Roadshow visited government offices, army and police posts, local tour companies and other commercial operations associated with the Park.
A range of materials was developed, with the aim of providing information, variety and interest – these included a DVD, posters, competitions and interactive activities. Some of the materials were left behind – for example the Colouring Books, while others were taken away to use at the next venue. All the written materials were in Bahasa Malaysia. The 20-minute Project DVD was produced in BM, Suluk and Bajau, and the appropriate version was selected for showing, depending on the target audience.

A short Roadshow ‘Feedback Form’ was also used to provide information about current knowledge and level of use of the Park and its resources by different communities residing outside the Park. This helped to indicate where enforcement measures might need to be concentrated over the next few years.

The 18-page A4 colouring book aimed at children aged 6-12 years was designed and produced by MCS/SIDP in collaboration with the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN). The cartoons portray a simple story, based around the ‘adventures’ of two key characters – a green turtle and a coral reef fish - that come face to face with fish blasting, nets and rubbish in the water and on the reef. They eventually manage to escape and reach the safety of a protected reef in the Park where they can live peacefully and raise their young.

Sample pages from the SIDP Colouring Book © Marine Conservation Society

Cartoons © Bob Foster Smith






Copyright ©2006 Semporna Islands Darwin Project 2005 - 2008

Designed and compiled by Elizabeth Wood & Andy Davies