The Coral Sea borders the Great Barrier Reef and the island archipelagos of Melanesia, and contains marine ecosystems of exceptionally high quality and biodiversity. Our aim is to raise awareness of the ecological and social value the Coral Sea and Eastern Coral Triangle, and to be proactive in its sustainable management. This region contains the last great reservoir of ultra-diverse coral reef in the world, yet most of it is remote and rarely visited, and is in urgent need of our assistance. Combining an ethos of science, ecotourism, and sustainability, the Coral Sea Foundation works with traditional owners to develop marine reserves that enhance fisheries and ecotourism resources, while improving the basic quality of life of people in our partner villages.
The Sea Women of Melanesia program
An important aspect of our strategy involves selecting intelligent and determined young Melanesian women and training them in conservation theory, scuba diving and marine biology survey techniques so they have the skills to communicate the need for marine reserves to their local communities and are able to identify areas suitable for marine protected areas on their own coral reefs.
Several UN studies have shown that educating girls and young women in developing nations is a very practical way to achieve lower birthrates and positive outcomes in environmental management, along with a slew of other social benefits. At the Coral Sea Foundation, we are committed to implementing that that strategy in a way that benefits both the people and coral reefs of Melanesia.
This is what your donation provides:
Support for the coral reef conservation work of our existing Sea Women team in Melanesia, including humanitarian aid to our partner villages. In order to encourage community participation in the marine reserve process, we support our villages with clean water infrastructure, medical aid, and educational materials for local schools.
Your donation will also support the enrolment of new women into our training program. We have the option of training women in PNG itself, and also for those ladies that have a passport, we can bring them to Australia for more detailed education by our team of marine scientists at Magnetic Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
Donation of $30 - $70
- Basic Coral Reef Field guide
- Malaria Prevention pack - Treated Mosquito Net, Mosquito Coils, insect repellent, Artemisin.
- School pack – pens, notebooks, textbooks, school bags
- Basic Kitchen Pack – Pots, frypans, buckets, knives, food coverings, kitchen utensils, water container.
Donation of $70 - $200
- Sea Woman Freedive Kit – Mask, snorkel, Fins, Rashvest
- Mid-range First Aid Pack
Donation of $200 - $1,000
- Sea Woman Underwater camera & GPS combo
- Sea Woman - one week marine survey and community awareness trip
- Small Water tank and collector
Donation of $1,500 - $2,000
- Sea Woman Open Water SCUBA course at Conflict Islands Conservation facility
- Medium water tank and collector
- Local University or Tech College Fees – one year
Donation of $8,000 - $10,000
- Sea Woman six-week scuba diving and marine science intensive training on the Great Barrier Reef
- Combined Sea Woman & Coral Sea Foundation marine reserve survey and setup expedition - PNG or Solomon Islands
- Uni fees for 3-year undergraduate biology degree UPNG
This program already has an excellent track record of results, with the experience of our first trainee, Lorie Pipiga, vital in securing the Nua Marine Reserve Network in the waters of Ferguson Island, which has some of the best reefs in the whole Eastern Coral Triangle. A short video of our recent expedition to Ferguson Island can be seen here - Coral Sea Visions 6.
Our two newest trainees, Martha Eimba from Alotau and Naomi Longa from Kimbe, just completed their PADI Open water course at the Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative facility in the beautiful Louisiade Archipelago of PNG. These ladies are graduates of the Biological Sciences program at UPNG, and with the additional skills they have acquired in their dive course, they are now well placed to begin effective marine conservation work in Papua New Guinea.
Martha wrote of her experience:
Being underwater is surreal. The moment you become submerged it’s like you’re in outer space and everything becomes weightless. I was nervous on my first open water dive at the Conflict Islands but the moment I opened my eyes underwater the whole area was teeming with life! Corals of different shapes, size and colours, colourful fish and sting rays, anemones and giant clams, sea cucumbers and turtles. A diverse array of marine life that can rival that of a tropical rainforest. It was truly an amazing sight. One that is worth protecting! I think that you need to truly have a passion for something in order to excel or thrive in it. A wise person once said that little girls need to see role models in whatever career they want to pursue just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can’t be what you can’t see. I am truly grateful to be a Sea Woman of Melanesia and I want to say thanks to Dr Andy Lewis and the Coral Sea Foundation team who made this dream a reality. I'm looking forward to expanding the work of the Sea Women of Melanesia in PNG and helping to protect and preserve our marine resources for the next generation.
Thanks very much for considering our fundraiser!
Dr Andy Lewis
CEO - Coral Sea Foundation