“Ambon hijau dan bersih” Project

Conducted by EE-Team Vlissingen, consisting of Els van de Kerkhof, Mary de Lima, Ada Lilipaly-de Voogt, with cooperation from Jolanda Sinay and Nel Lekatompessy.

Period: three full months each year from 2010 to 2012.


  1. Summary



Following years of contact between the sister cities Ambon, Indonesia and Flushing (Vlissingen), the Netherlands, the environmental education center MICMEC became involved. Yopi Papilaya, mayor of Ambon, declared in 2009 that the school week would be extended by one hour to include environmental education (EE) at all schools. As a result, there was a need for suggested curriculum and for trainings to be organized. This led to the creation of the “Ambon hijau dan bersih” project.



Preparations for our visit were made in cooperation with the Flushing-Ambon Partnership Foundation (Stichting Samenwerking Vlissingen Ambon/SSVA). The Ambon municipal government made all the necessary arrangements: locations, catering, buses, our transportation, recruiting participants, transporting the lesson materials, organizing the eco-expo. They also placed a city official (environmental expert Irene Manuputty) at our disposal to guide us.

Through SSVA, we received subsidies from HIVOS as well as from SSVA itself; this enabled us to pay for our airfare and to prepare copies of the lesson binders. We worked on a volunteer basis.



Individual Targets:

– To equip the 200 primary schools in Ambon with lesson plans for environmental education, reaching every school and supplying some training to teachers; also extending to secondary education and teacher training to the greatest extent possible.

– To provide instruction to various citizens’ groups.

– To promote cooperation between municipal departments as well as among organizations.



– Collaboration and partnership with the municipal departments of Education and Waste Removal.

– Working with TVRI to create educational videos which were broadcast repeatedly; one of these videos was made into a documentary film (see also: SSVA – Projects – Education – Documentary “Ambon Green and Clean”).

– Working with the SIWA-LIMA Museum and the LIPI oceanic research institute to provide trainings.

– Hosting information sessions/workshops for city officials, sanitation workers, Christian and Muslim women, village representatives.

– Visiting the local compost site, the Toisapu landfill, pilot areas for waste collection, a studio that converts waste materials into handcrafted products .

– Outdoor activities with a youth nature club.

– Participating in “World Trash Day” with a protest action and a beach clean-up.

– Initiating and participating in an “eco-expo,” during with the “Green School Award” was handed out (Nov. 2012).

– Providing trainings to teachers.



Educational Material


For general use/information:

– “Ambon tanpa sampah” brochure: Deals with inorganic waste which cannot be composted and therefore does not simply disappear, which contains toxins and is hazardous to the environment; deals with waste breakdown times and how to reduce waste.


– “Membuat kompos” brochure: Explains what compost is, how it is created and how to stimulate it, what can/cannot be composted, how to solve common problems, what to use compost for.


For primary schools:

  1. Loose-leaf lesson binder with six topics:

– Exploring the environment

– Waste

– Green living environment

– Energy

– Water

– The sea and the beach


Each topic includes:

  1. Background information for the teacher

– Suggested lessons for grade levels 1-2, 3-4, 4-5; more than enough for one lesson each week.

– Copyable worksheets for the pupils


  1. The lessons are designed specifically for Maluku/Ambon but can be used throughout all of Indonesia. Materials from Ambon were used. Very little additional material/equipment is necessary, so the costs are very low. The approach is based on investigative learning, working in small groups, combining various disciplines and activities. The pupils in Ambon proved to be very good at giving presentations and at singing. During the third year, a local actress took part, successfully demonstrating “teaching through drama.”


  1. Lesson Kits for each school:



– individual environmental education books

– magnifying glasses, jars with magnifying lids, worm container

– small shovels, containers

– treasure maps

– the lesson binder

– self-collected specimens from nature and research tools


  1. Set of two posters for each school:

“Which environment do you want: dirty or clean”

“What can you do about it?”

These posters were developed for use in Sri Lanka and permission was given for them to be duplicated for Ambon.


  1. Trainings



The primary schools operated by the municipal government of Ambon (which encompasses approximately half of Ambon Island) are clustered into groups of eight to ten schools situated adjacently. Each cluster has a cluster coordinator.

We followed this existing structure, which resulted in the following training layout:

Three days of training for the 23 coordinators, who then earned the title “green coordinators.”

One day of training for the science teachers at each school, who then earned the title “green guru,” along with one colleague/school director.

During the first two years, we carried out these trainings, building upon our first year. There turned out to be far more participants in the second year than in the first because of a large number of job-changes and transfers.

During the third year, we carried out two training days for two or three teachers per school, combining old and new topics.



The trainings were a mixture of:

– environmental information

– introduction to the curriculum

– going through the lessons and research experiments

– field work

– using the school environment and giving tips for how to enrich it

– discussing the “Green School” concept


Partnership with the Ambon municipal government:

At the beginning of the first month of the project, the Ambon municipal government organized a symposium on the importance of environmental education. The schools were encouraged to become “Green Schools.” We offered consultation and formulated the conditions for becoming a “Green School.”

A city official was present during each training day to offer a word of welcome. As mentioned before, the Ambon Municipal Government arranged all kinds of facilities for the project. These included buses to bring the participants to the museum, to several beaches and to the research institute.

At the end of the third month of the project, an “eco-expo” was organized on the main square of Ambon City in the form of a green market with information booths, presentations and performances by the school children. Our colleague Nel Lekatompessy worked together with children to put on a performance called “Raksasa-sampah” (see the documentary).

This eco-expo had the result we had hoped for: gaining contact with the general public and providing information to them while stimulating interaction and partnership ties between all kinds of green initiatives and organizations.



Other trainings/workshops:

– Morning work session for school inspectors; inspectors were also present during the trainings.

– Morning work session for science teachers in training.

– Morning work session with teachers in training and their instructor.


  1. Current Situation


By the time we left Ambon, the people there were motivated, above all, to keep going, to use our materials and apply them to their own situations, and to help one another.

The coordinators were convinced that they would be able to do so. They did not expect much support from the municipal government. The head inspector was also committed to keeping up the good work.


Additionally we left behind recommendations for improving waste removal and stimulating a simple method of composting.

What it all boils down to is that more small waste collection vehicles are necessary in order to reach the remote villages and pass through the narrow mountain roads.


The simple composting method must be promoted. So far we had seen numerous methods that did not work: large plastic barrels, composting sheds in inaccessible places, barrels labelled “sampah basah” and “sampah kering,” concrete collection containers for waste that was unclearly separated. There remains much to be done in the areas of organized waste reduction, separation and recycling and waste removal. Furthermore, ongoing education and monitoring are necessary, along with possible sanctions/rewards.


The situation at this time is somewhat uncertain. After repeated requests for a response and update, little has taken place. Occasional reports indicate, on the one hand, that the work is continuing, but, on the other hand, that there has been no activity. In order to keep pushing and stimulating constantly, local presence is essential. In the meantime, Ambon is moving forward with raising environmental awareness but, at the same time, with increasing traffic and consumption. The city has received an award for urban cleanliness, but its famous bay remains hopelessly polluted.


The EE team has fallen apart due to external reasons. We feel involved on an individual basis. I personally have also undertaken actions for and inside Ihamahu, a village on Saparua Island, where we want to obtain a suitable facility for waste removal. I am still active in the Green Moluccas network.


Ada Lilipaly-de Voogt,

September 2015