In North Sulawesi, the majority of people are Christian, and it has been reported that Manado has the highest density of churches in the world! Belief therefore plays an extremely important role in people’s wellbeing, and forms the fundamental moral guide for life in the region. Based on previous research and direct experience in the region, collaboration with community representatives such as religious, educational and cultural leaders and heads of districts, villages and traditional markets is essential to the success of any awareness campaign.
By engaging with key religious leaders, SY have already seen a wide range of useful recommendations and action plans developed in key areas of our programme’s conservation scope.
Building on these principles and lessons learnt, SY are increasing the capacity and identity of religious leaders and institutions to deliver positive messages of environmental protection and sustainability. Education materials including a bespoke Sunday school syllabus have been co-created by priests and church representatives, which under this project will be disseminated with awareness raising events and Sunday school environmental clubs established.
It is envisioned that by framing conservation messages within a far-reaching religious context, outreach and openness for adoption of core pro-environmental principles will be enhanced, thus reducing the threats to biodiversity.