Carrying out the next stage of community based research to discover in greater depth what the needs, dreams and priorities of the local communities within the 30km stretch from Buho Buho to Tawakali are to be ready for the estimated 500,000 foreign tourists expected to the island by 2019, was enthralling and fascinating for all involved.
Using a variety of interactive creative workshops from poster design, to community screenings, gatherings, action activities such as beach and surf adventures we were really able to get to the heart of matters.
Learning English is the number one priority of 90% of locals from age 15 to 55 within this zone. They see it as the basic for being able to be a part of and benefit from tourism development, plus they would like to meet tourists, know about other cultures and thinking and make friends.
This form of research also enabled us to collect data on social aspects of life, the flora and fauna and the effects of climate change to coastline, for example we were told that the beach at Buho Buho is now approximately 30 to 40 meters narrower than it was 40 years causing greater erosion (Buho Buho is currently building a rock wall to try to stop wave erosion and protect houses), and smaller waves. Furthermore fish stocks are significantly lower with fisherman having to go out in boats to catch fish (and they don’t always come back with any) where previously they were able to catch ample fish from the beach. Sourcing such data through “social sources” rather than scientifically throws light on behaviour and habits and how local villagers’ daily lives are impacted and changed and what this may mean for the future as resources become fewer and are more highly contested.
We captured this process and will be sharing a short film next month giving further insight and understanding to this extraordinary corner of the world =).