"Mangrove Mama" - Kelompok Cinta Persahabatan — literally, "Lovers of Friendship — is an environmental organization founded by Martha Lotang and her closest friends in Alor, East Nusa Tenggara, in 2008. At first, the group's main activity was doing clean-up on empty lands for a fee. The little money they earned, they put into a joint bank account.
When World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found out about KCP two years later, they decided to train the group on the basics of mangrove conservation and how to protect the Alor coast from erosion.
WWF started working intensely with KCP in 2010. Now the group manages an extensive conservation area in Kalabahi and has its own mangrove seedbed, where mangrove seeds are grown inside polybags waiting to be replanted.
KCP's mangrove conservation has attracted more tourists to the area. Each tourist visiting Kalabahi will be asked to plant a mangrove tree to help with conservation efforts.
Martha Lotang, or Mama Martha as she is affectionately known, still heads the group and regularly visits elementary schools around Alor to teach the students about the importance of mangrove conservation and the danger of erosion.
Among other prizes, Mama Martha received the prestigious Women Leadership award from the Coral Triangle Initiative in 2014. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) -
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