Shoalwater uni student takes part in Indonesian exchange program


Lauren Peck (centre) playing an active role in the four-week Sustainable Community Development exchange program. Picture: Jillian McHugh Photography
Lauren Peck (centre) playing an active role in the four-week Sustainable Community Development exchange program. Picture: Jillian McHugh Photography

SHOALWATER resident Lauren Peck was one of four Murdoch University students chosen to take part in a four-week Sustainable Community Development exchange program in Indonesia.

Ms Peck said she found the overall experience eye opening and rewarding.

“It was rewarding to be able to volunteer a few weeks of my time where I learnt so much about village life,” she said.

The four students were awarded New Colombo Plan grants to undertake a Sustainable Community Development Practicum in Indonesia last year.

Over the four-week program, the students were involved in monitoring coral reef rehabilitation and alternative livelihood programs, planning a village-based plastic recycling program by creating unique jewellery products and establishing a worm farm.

Ms Peck, who is studying an honours degree in marine science, said during her time in Indonesia she witnessed what everyday life was like for an ornamental fisherman.

“I learned about the social and environmental issues associated with the fisherman livelihood and that there has been a lot of damage to the marine environment due to unsustainable fishing practices in the past,” she said.

The students were placed with non-government organisations and worked on a variety of projects in northern Bali.

Ms Peck said she enjoyed working with and getting to know the people from the Indonesian nature foundation, LINI.

“LINI is a non-government organisation who works to conserve the marine environment,” she said.

“They complete work such as breeding fish for aquariums, building artificial reefs, monitoring coral and fish populations, providing education to local children about the marine environment and providing job opportunities to local women.

“One of my favourite activity’s was involved with LINI, working with the fisherman, interns and fellow Murdoch students to build an artificial reef, and diving to observe the artificial reefs and reef restoration work that has been going on for the past 10 years.”

Murdoch Asian Studies Associate Professor Carol Warren said the program was an excellent opportunity for a two-way exchange between Australia and its neighbouring countries in the Indo-Pacific.

Students who participated in the program were from a range of disciplines including International Aid and Development, Marine Science, Indonesian, Community Development, Environmental Management, Sustainability and Tourism studies.

MORE: Rockingham security firm Sureguard Security fined for underpaying workers

MORE: Nowergup limestone company fined for having hazardous workplace

MORE: Utility left hanging precariously