International Women’s Day 2018:
Pressing for Progress in Marine Conservation

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) Women Leaders Forum (WLF), is a peer-learning network of women leaders that aims to build women’s capacity in leading marine conservation and sustainability programs.


This year, the forum has an Inter Generational Leadership Learning Program that provides a knowledge sharing platform between senior marine conservation women leaders in the six Coral Triangle countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) who will serve as mentors to a younger generation of early career women who show both potential and interest in developing leadership qualities. Each pair of mentor and mentee is breaking ground by finding solutions to some of the most pressing marine conservation issues in the Coral Triangle. The program is being implemented by the US Department of the Interior and the Coral Triangle in Center, in collaboration with CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat and CTI-CFF National Coordinating Committees and funded by USAID.


On International Women’s Day 2018 the theme is Press for Progress. We share with you the women leaders who are pressing for progress by taking on conservation challenges in the Coral Triangle region. These women are taking leading roles in marine conservation and making progress towards gender equality. We showcase you these remarkable women to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Coral Triangle Women Leaders Take Action


Mentor: Dinah Yunitawati
Mentee: Sri Rahayu Mansur

Conservation Challenge: Reducing the mining of corals and sea sand in the Banda Sea Marine Protected Area through community approaches.


Dinah and Sri Rahayu combine their areas of expertise in Marine Protected Area management to lead and inspire others to raise awareness about the destructive long term effects of coral mining and sea sand mining, as well as providing alternatives for the community, therefore protecting the integrity of the Banda Sea Marine Protected Area.


Mentor: Associate Prof. Dr. Siti Aisah Binti Hj Alias
Mentee: Dr. Nurul Huda Ahmad Ishak

Conservation Challenge: To protect green turtle nesting sites and increase green turtle populations, Pantai Teluk Dalam, Pulang Redang, Terengganu, Malaysia.


Dr. Siti’s extensive research skills and reputation as a published author and Nurul’s passion for implemented research work will merge well together to undertake the conservation challenge to protect green turtle nesting sites and increase green turtle populations in their home country of Malaysia.


Mentor: Barbara Masike-Liri
Mentee: Martha Wamo

Conservation Challenge: Establishment of a Community-Based Fish Aggregated Device (FAD) in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea.


Barbara’s strong leadership role as Director at the Nature Conservancy coupled with Martha’s enthusiasm and values of trust and honesty will help establish a new way for local women to catch fish and generate food and income in their home country of Papua New Guinea.


Mentor: Agnetha Zima Ann Vave-Karamui
Mentee: Duta Bero Kauhiona

Conservation Challenge: To develop a ‘best practice’ model of sustainable financing for conservation and sustainable development efforts for KAWAKI (Kia, Wagina & Katupika) Women’s Network in the Solomon Islands.


Agnetha’s strength in having a deep understanding of policy and regulatory frameworks of marine resource management and conservation in the Solomon Islands coupled with Duta’s experience in Community-Based Resource Management will be well suited to solve the conservation challenge of increasing community participation in conservation and sustainable development practices for the custodians of the Arnavon Community Marine Park through developing a ‘best practice’ model of sustainable financing, tailored for women.


Mentor: Alda Sousa
Mentee: Esmeralda dos Santos

Conservation Challenge: Restoring reef productivity by awareness raising and waste management in Atauro Island, Timor-Leste.


Alda and Esmerada understand the value of fisheries resources as both have established careers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. They will tackle the conservation challenge of human pressure degrading the reefs in Atauro Island, Timor-Leste which holds the world’s highest diversity of fish species before it is too late.

Coral Triangle Center