Chandra Rasiardhy is a member of the Indonesia team that won a 2016 Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) Follow-up Award for its project, Promoting sustainable fishing in Sumbawa. Translated into English by his colleague Ida Ansharyani, this is Chandra’s personal account of his experience during the two-week international training course in which he recently participated.
It makes me very happy when I look back on the CLP training in Canada – a very beautiful country. Meeting other fantastic people concerned with the environment who had come from all over the world was an extraordinary life journey. This was beyond the wildest dreams and expectations of the son of a fisherman like me, living on the undeveloped Sumbawa Island in Indonesia. Of course, I was worried a lot about joining the training. This was my first overseas trip and my first experience of international training, and my English is not good. My head kept telling me to abandon the whole idea, but deep inside my heart, I wanted to just close my eyes and jump in, and enjoy the experience for what it was. I wanted to have something great to tell my little brothers, to make my late mother proud of me, and to have lots of funny and ridiculous stories to tell my fisher family and friends, but also to prove to myself and to others that everything in life is possible, no matter who you are.
The two weeks of CLP training was the best experience of my life, for sure. I will always recall the warm feeling of socialising with new friends from other countries who were very kind to me. I always looked forward to waking up in the morning, having breakfast and then checking in before starting to study. I really liked the check-in activities: games, yoga and sharing with others what’s in our heart and mind. I would have never thought that such simple activities as those could really energise you despite the long hours of studying. Remembering all of the new and very kind friends that I made there, I miss them so much now. I keep hoping that there will be a chance someday in my life to meet them all again.
This was truly a life-changing experience for me. I learned many new important things from this training about leadership and other skills. The methods of learning were so easy to understand and to apply in real conservation work. I learned about project planning, how gender issues should be incorporated into conservation, how to work with other stakeholders, and much more besides. One thing that I really enjoyed was that we always had games after class sessions, which was such fun.
After the training I felt really energised and motivated to apply all the things I had learned to our ongoing CLP project. I am more confident now to take on a bigger role in our project and in other conservation initiatives. I would like to share many of my experiences and the knowledge gained from this training with my team members and other young people. I have a vision that many young people will be more knowledgeable and aware of the need to protect their marine resources and that they will be more capable of initiating conservation action that will improve the lives of the fisher community as well as conserving the marine environment. I hope that I can keep achieving things for conservation in the future. I hope that, in time, I will also improve my English, so that the language will become much easier for me.
Oh my! I still cannot believe that this CLP training experience was real! I often think that I must have been dreaming and that it was a very nice and long dream from which I never wanted to wake up. This is totally crazy! Thanks so much, CLP!