The #50Villages campaign will be implemented over three years in fifty villages across eastern Indonesia, north of Darwin – home to almost 40% of Earth’s coral reef systems predicted to survive*. People who live on these reefs are among the world’s poorest.

#50Villages will aim to lift entire districts out of poverty.

“This is conservation through poverty alleviation on a scale greater than almost anything else attempted,” says Blue Octopus Foundation Co-Founder Anissa Lawrence.

Building on the success of an Australian aid-funded pilot program implemented in five villages across Indonesia in 2016 – 2018, the #50Villages project will:

  • Empower communities (including women’s groups) with new skills to connect to markets and improve their livelihoods;
  • Be applied 100% in practice with comprehensively measurable outcomes; and
  • Allow the community to set its own goals and priorities quickly and with the basis for lasting and financially-sustainable conservation and food security outcomes

The outstandingly successful pilot program found that the fastest, most lasting and financially-sustainable results are achieved when they are community-led and owned.

With training and support from a team of experts, the needs-based programs will be designed by the #50Villages themselves.

“The initiatives implemented in each village are built around the primary needs of the community. This is what makes the #50Villages project successful and lasting. It’s being able to translate basic needs and community priorities into something that quickly creates self-determined conservation decisions,” says Lawrence.

“The work is practical. Our efforts are placed on working out the exact steps to create outcomes and then apply the funding on those steps, to generate economic benefit and sustainable outcomes. The work is hands on and involves everyone in the community.”

It’s expected most programs will work toward economic outcomes, alleviating poverty, and will often include addressing the problem of marine plastic pollution, improving livelihoods and leading to protection of wildlife and coastal environments.

“We might only have 30 years to secure the future of these coral reefs, on which all our fisheries and livelihoods depend. People’s support for #50Villages can pave the way for larger-scale expansion, in places where it matters most of all to the world right now”.

Patrick O’Callaghan of World Oceans Day Partnerships and Programs adds, “#50Villages is your chance to support an initiative that has already been proven to achieve more rapid, measurable and critical social conservation outcomes than most projects we see.”

The #50Villages project budget is $15,000 per year per village for a 3-year program, but it can’t be done at a cost ‘per village’. Blue Octopus Foundation needs a minimum of about 30 villages-worth of support to start.