By S.L. Wong
Photos by Md Rozaimi Jamaludin & Jessica Ng
Three years from now, they envision Tioman Island’s land and oceans protected. Three years from now, they envision being professional tourist guides both in the water and in the forests. Three years from now, they envision lots of tourists visiting the island to enjoy the different activities that will be available.
These statements came from a group of local boatmen/snorkeling guides of Tioman Island, who are keen to work towards making Tioman a sustainable tourist attraction. Based on marine friendly snorkeling programmes that the Marine SIG had been conducting for members since 2003, SIG organised a trial training programme for 22 locals last year, which was very successful. Amongst other things, the guides indicated their willingness to work towards a training and certification scheme.
As such, SIG returned to Tioman in October 2007 to determine what the community needed to be effective snorkelling guides within the larger context of their overall needs. The method used goes by the unwieldy term of a Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA).
A PRA is a tool used in development projects, which is community-oriented and is a mutual learning process to work towards a common goal. It is a methodical framework to understand and assess a community’s situation and plan for development. The knowledge of the local people is taken as a starting point and planning is done collectively.
So there they were, envisioning what they would and would not like for Tioman and themselves in three years’ time. Agreeing on an overall goal of protecting Tioman Island, two project goals were then decided: to become professional land and marine guides, and to form a snorkelling guide association.
Of participants, 12 registered, most of them from Kampung Tekek (9) while the rest were from Kampung Salang. Most had participated in last year’s training workshop.
Where do we go from here? We have been keeping Marine Parks apprised of what we are doing and shall submit the PRA report to them. Marine Parks will soon be implementing a five-year programme for four islands, including Tioman, which they have not finalised. We must make sure our programme fits in with that.
We were fortunate in having as a PRA participant, a Marine Parks officer in charge of Tioman, Izarenah Md Repin, who briefed the islanders directly as to Marine Park plans and answered their questions. Marine SIG is also considering a potential collaboration with other NGOs on sustainable island tourism, and an SIG website to support this initiative.
The PRA committee comprised Lee Siew Yeen, Wong Wee Liem, Jessica Ng, Shahrul, Lisa Lee, Md Rozaimi Jamaludin (MNS HQ) and S.L. Wong. To support our 2006 trained guides, we listed them on our blogspot, with reports of the training as part of the Tioman Island Fest 2006.
Tioman PRA Outcomes
To protect Tioman Island
(1) To become professional land and marine guides, and
(2) To form a snorkelling guide association
(1) Water and land safety training
(2) English language classes (tourist conversational level)
(3) Training on how to teach proper snorkelling techniques to tourists
(4) Capacity building in managing a community association
(5) Marine knowledge training
(6) Tourist guiding training