July 20, 2024

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NGO advances toward its eco-tourism vision on Gaya Island

3 min read

The Gaya Island community and members of
Meraki Daat Sabah Initiative.

KOTA KINABALU (July 3): Meraki Daat Sabah Initiative, a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to environmental preservation and community empowerment, recently marked a significant milestone in its ongoing commitment to sustainability.

In a symbolic handover ceremony, Meraki Daat officially presented a modern shredder machine to Kg Lobong, Pulau Gaya, a vibrant coastal community on Gaya Island.

Meraki Daat’s Project Picasso is a multi-phase initiative aimed at enhancing the natural beauty of Gaya Island while promoting eco-tourism and sustainable practices. The project draws inspiration from the renowned artist Pablo Picasso, emphasizing creativity, transformation and community collaboration.

In the inaugural phase, Meraki Daat partnered with Gaya Belian Sdn Bhd, a local company specializing in sustainable timber products. Gaya Belian generously provided the shredder machine on a loan basis. The primary objective of this collaboration is to address the issue of non-sellable plastics that often end up polluting the environment and underscores their dedication to circular economy principles and sustainable solutions.

The newly acquired shredder machine will play a pivotal role in transforming discarded plastics into eco bricks. These eco bricks, made from shredded plastic waste, will serve as building materials for community projects, including beautification efforts and infrastructure development on Gaya Island.

Sourier à Tous, a global philanthropic organization, has extended crucial support to Meraki Daat’s initiatives. Their financial backing and expertise in community-driven projects have been instrumental in making Project Picasso a reality. Sourier à Tous recognizes the importance of empowering local communities and preserving natural ecosystems.

“Today, as we witness the fruition of our dreams, I am reminded that every step taken in pursuit of sustainability and community empowerment matters. In less than a year of fundraising, the unwavering support we’ve received has lifted our spirits and fueled our determination. “This project, though extremely challenging, is a testament to the power of collective effort. Together, we create ripples of positive change that resonate far beyond our island,” said Michelle de la Harpe, Charter President of Meraki Daat.

The official handover ceremony was graced by Mohd Reduan from the Community Development Leader Unit (UPPM) for the constituency of Tanjung Aru. His presence symbolized the endorsement of this collaborative effort by local authorities and highlighted the significance of community-led environmental initiatives.

When asked during the handing over event, Mohd Reduan stated his firm belief that this initiative is needed to contribute to the integrated effort in creating sustainability towards environment whilst concurrently promoting the economic income of the people.

Citing that the utilisation of recycled materials to create other products has becoming the global trends, thanks to the push from international organisations like United Nation, Mohd Reduan stressed on the importance of mindset building to ensure that people of Pulau Gaya will be able to support any development plans involving Pulau Gaya and not be secluded.

“The initiative by Meraki Daat is one of the building blocks to create an ecosystem whereby education on environmental preservation can be used to boost economic income of the people. Being the jewel of Kota Kinabalu land banks, I am in full support for any initiative that could lead to creating a population of Pulau Gaya with sustainable mindset starting from addressing the apparent issue of environmental challenge.

“Thanks to Meraki Daat, we are able to start the process now and this is the call for action for stronger collaboration between governmental and non-governmental bodies. This is not a one-man job, and that is what I am committed to – to ensure that collaborative efforts would benefit the people socially and economically.”

Meraki Daat remains committed to fostering partnerships, creating positive impact, and leaving a lasting legacy of sustainability on Gaya Island. As the shredder hums to life, transforming plastic waste into eco bricks, the island community takes a step closer to a brighter, cleaner future.


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