Creating a Sustainable Future for Fishermen Families in Marunda

AkzoNobel colleagues from Car Refinishes in Jakarta have helped to improve the living conditions of a local fishing community at Marunda Beach.

The Marunda Beach community in Cilincing, North Jakarta is one of the poorest communities in Jakarta. It stretches about 1.7 kilometers and is only 10 kilometers from the Car Refinishes site. In fact it is the only public beach left in Jakarta. There live 600 families at this coastal side, who are mostly fishermen with a daily income of less than €7 per family. The country’s economic crisis has badly affected this community and inadequate family health, child education, personal hygiene and sanitation facilities are part of their daily lives. School buildings are of poor condition, clean water is limited, most cabins/small houses are built just from plywood with clay as their floor and most of them do not have private latrine, roads are full of mud during rainy days and fishy smell is everywhere. In such an environment, there is a high risk of disease.

Our colleagues from Car Refinishes, both at the production site as well as the commercial location decided to choose this community for support from the Community Program in 2008. From previous CP experiences they knew that this situation could not be approached in ‘one shot’ and needed an integrated and sustainable program to improve the social-economic condition of the residents.

In close cooperation with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), an international reputable institute for agricultural and fishery sciences, and the local authorities a program was designed and divided in 3 parts spread from August through December. Almost all employees of Car Refinishes Indonesia from Jakarta Production & Logistics, Color Laboratory and Commercial were approached and committed to the project.

The first part, ‘Empowerment’ was directed at building a direct contact with local fishermen to help them improve their fishing knowledge. A focus group discussion was first held to find out what problems they were facing. In the next stage, a management training on fishing was conducted by IPB, facilitated by our colleagues from Car Refinishes, to give the fishermen adequate knowledge related to their jobs. Empowerment for intensification and extensiveness of fishing technology was also undergone, including donation of adequate fishing equipments.

Car Refinishes Indonesia also facilitated the form of an independent fishing company owned by the local fishermen community as a means to work together in fishing activities.

The second part was ‘Environment and Public Facilities improvement’, designed to restore their socio-economic condition through physical activities. Divided in groups, every week our volunteering colleagues went to the location to hands-on support the unfortunate community.

A small quay from concrete was also built on Marunda Beach which will hopefully attract more people to visit this historical place, which in the end will bring additional income to the families. Sunshine and rain did not reduce the employees’ spirit to do the jobs as could be seen from their happy faces. The employees had worked side by side with local residents, with enthusiasm, to repaint school buildings and form a public library. During the overall program, 200 trees were planted along the housing area.

Each employee planted one tree which made the area brighter and greener. Female employees taught the children in a very simple classroom and gave the children some happy moments. Also with support from the Community Progam books, some teaching aids and furniture were purchased to support their teaching activities.

And finally, the entire AkzoNobel volunteering team went to the location to do the final part of the project: to restore the roads with paving blocks. Heavy rain and muddy road could not stop the employees to hand-in-hand do the job, so now the people do not need to walk on muddy road on rainy days anymore. With great pride the Car Refinishes employees as well as the IPB experts attended the closing ceremony on December 20, 2008 which was attended by an official from the North Jakarta’s Fishery, Marine and Veterinary Agency.

Maslina, one of the volunteering employees said it all:
‘From this project I learned that there are still many people who live beyond what I have ever thought. I could never imagine that they could survive in such a life with limited clean water, limited food, muddy road and dirty environment. I hope that they will be able to utilize the knowledge and facilities, supported by the AkzoNobel Community Program, and improve their lives’.>