Ronny Dimara

Ashoka Fellow
Sorong, Indonesia
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Ronny Dimara was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Ronny is developing a movement to develop and protect the economies and cultures of Indonesia's remote island peoples. Indonesia has thousands of small islands, many that dot partially inhabited atolls and archipelagoes. Indonesia is also a nation of fishermen and subsistence-driven fishing communities of those remote islands that are the first to suffer when the oceans are damaged and also the first lines of environmental defense. Their survival and quality of life are closely tied to the health of local waters. Ronny is building associations of these remote fishing communities to deal with the legal, physical, social, and economic conflicts that are increasingly pitting local peoples against foreign fishing fleets and mainland businessmen.
Ronny's goal is to make small fishermen more competitive, more environmentally conscious, and better able to negotiate the use of public resources. One way he does this is by developing small businesses that preserve profits by cutting out the middleman. Transporting fish requires some kind of refrigeration; lacking this facility, indigenous fishermen have depended on intermediary buyers to take their fish to market. Ronny is helping communities to pool their resources in order to transport fish on a small scale in specially equipped boats. In addition to raising incomes, such enterprises allow local fishermen to compete without resorting to destructive fishing practices, like using dynamite and cyanide to improve their catch. This environmental consciousness also applies to the protection of native species, like tortoises and cockatoos–both of which have become prized commodities in the illegal animal trade facilitated by international fishing fleets. Ronny's model is replicable among other remote island communities faced with similar challenges.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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