If there’s a will, there’s a wave. We must dance with tides for only in the waves of change, we find our direction.
I can still vividly recall when I and my previous mentor had a discussion on what project to propose back in 2019. I was a neophyte then in proposal writing and figuratively just started my “baby steps” in Project Development. I had a lot of overwhelming emotions and even anxious at the same time on what to put on the table, but not until the day my mentor ignited my spirit for coastal stewardship when she said “Lloyd, go the extra mile, it’s never crowded”; and that day I decided to make waves and led to the birth of “Our Ocean Program – SMILE, SEAcured, SEAled”.
Our Ocean Program was born in 2019 with the lucid panorama of enhancing institutional and human capacities and partnerships for marine conservation by applying proven CRM strategies in selected municipalities and MPAs in Cebu Province and Siquijor Province toward achieving social, economic, and ecological sustainability for the benefit of local communities. During its first year of implementation, Our Ocean impacted thousands of beneficiaries through its science-anchored biophysical assessments, monitoring, community development, trainings on coastal law enforcement, livelihood, educational campaigns, and assistance on eco-governance for policy-review, resolution making, etc. In its second year of implementation, Our Ocean continued by its with-cost extension as approved by our most loved funder, Unico Conservation Foundation (UCF). In 2020-2021, Our Ocean added project milestones including the “ridge-to-reef campaign”. Also, during this project year when CCEF conducted Project KAALAM (knowledge) in the six (6) learning sites of Talisay, Cebu for Ridge-to-Ridge Educational Caravan which paved way for the reconstitution of the Talisay River Management Council. Our Ocean’s Project SMILE too established a partnership with LEAR Corporation for Project MORE (Mangrove management Optimization for Resilient Ecosystems).Year 2 of Project SEAcured’s highlights were the (1) triumph of Southeast Cebu Coastal Resource Management Council (SCCRMC) for winning the Most Outstanding MPA Network and Sumilon Island as the Best Locally-managed MPA during the Para El Mar MPA Awards 2021; (2) Creation of Casay Marine Sanctuary Plan of Argao, Cebu; (3) Successful series of dive expeditions for Crown-of-Thorns (COTs) removal; and (4) Implementation of tailor-fitted trainings for Coastal Law Enforcement. Year 2 of Project SEAled’s focused on the ecopreneurial trainings and awarded fund support for the three (3) MPA Bodies in Siquijor Province, namely: Binoongan Women Association (BWA), Olang Coastal Resource Management Body (OCRMB), and Tulapos Marine Protected Area Association (TuMPAAs). With CCEF’s more than a decade of works in Siquijor Province, it opened a new opportunity named “Project SEAS the Future” of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
I am flabbergasted that in a span of two years, Our Ocean Program went extra mile and created waves of change with 125 Project Activities, 4,717 Direct Project Beneficiaries, 113 Project Partners, and 24 Project Sites. My unceasing thanks to all the my “kauban sa buhat” (co-conservationists), partner local implementors, collaborators, all stakeholders, and most importantly to Him.
Our Ocean Program taught me a lot of things and one of those is “Our dream for conservation work is limited only by the depth of our imaginations and it takes WILL to create WAVE”.
Our Ocean Program has ended but CCEF’s love and commitment for coastal conservation with involved communities will always remain.
LLOYD G. YOSOYA, MBA, CFP, PHD ( Cand.)
Our Ocean Program Coordinator