Our History


Mangrove Action Project (MAP) was founded in 1993, in Port Angeles Washington, as a project under Earth Island Institute (EII). EII provided 501 3(c) status to MAP and rudimentary G&A services for an 8% administration fee. In 2006 EII raised their admin fee to 12% and MAP governors urged MAP to leave the umbrella of EII and form its own 501 3(c) which it did in 2007. This was linked to an effort to improve MAP’s G&A, which was largely lacking since its early foundational days.

The MAP board had hired a private business and organizational development consultant, who led three day retreats with the Director, chosen International affiliates (from MAP Indonesia, MAP Asia, MAP Brazil and MAP Education (Caribbean based) and all Board members. The formal findings and recommendations of the meetings, for re-organization were ratified by the Board, and an action plan developed to revamp MAP governance. This included its relationships with international spin-offs, but focused more on governance of the central office in Port Angeles.

Recommendations however were not adequately adopted by MAP. These include moving the central office to a region in the US where mangrove projects could be demonstrated (i.e. Florida), funding administrative staff and upper management and re-defining the Executive Director’s role with the inclusion of performance criteria. MAP has not responded to this challenge, and as a result three of five Board members have resigned.

With specific regards to the MAP Indonesia program, it had its genesis as a contingent of coastal communities and community workers from North Sulawesi province joined a week long “In the Hands of the Fisherfolk” training and subsequent three week long study tour of the Chao Mai National Park in Southern Thailand. Attendance of this meeting was co-supported by USAID NRM II project in North Sulawesi. At this time, Ben Brown, a volunteer at Yayasan KELOLA, was asked to develop a MAP office in Indonesia, as MAP had received recent criticism from its Board and major funder (Rockefeller Brothers Foundation) that it was too network/broad advocacy based and would benefit from demonstration projects in the field.

Brown, Lukmanul Hakim and Farechah set up Yayasan Akar Rumput Laut (Seagrassroots Foundation) with a chief mandate to implement programs in Indonesia on behalf of MAP.  At that time registering a Yayasan with an English name was not allowed, and MAP did not have the capacity to develop a formal partnership with the Indonesian government. Yayasan Akar Rumput Laut was based in Yogyakarta and began to implement projects in Sulawesi and Sumatera as well as Java.

In 2006 rules regulating Yayasan governance became more strict, and YARL transformed itself into a Perkumpulan NGO.  Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia was registered, also in Yogyakarta, and continued to operate small projects throughout Indonesia.

In 2008-2009, Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia took a hiatus, growing confused by managing 43 small and medium grants in a dozen provinces as YARL and Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia over the past eight-nine years. Instead, Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia along with CUSO developed a larger proposal to CIDA, for mangrove rehabilitation, livelihood development and development of adaptive collaborative management in South Sulwaesi. This became the Restoring Coastal Livelihoods program. As CUSO dissolved (merged with VSO), MAP-Indonesia sought new partnership with OXFAM-GB. The RCL project officially began in March 2010. Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia is a major implementing partner on the project, with activities in 64 communities and an annual operational budget of $400,000. Perkumpulan MAP has regularly overachieved on its major targets (running 44 of a a targeted 32 coastal field schools and accomplishing 228 of a targeted 160 hectares of mangrove rehabilitation), with 98% expenditure of budget.

Meanwhile, MAP-Central was still being operated by a single individual, and suffering from what many label “Founder’s Syndrome.” Two current Board members and two ex-Board members of MAP Central, as well as all Board members of Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia eventually recommended that a new Yayasan be founded in Indonesia, in order to continue to work on its mission and vision autonomously. It was also hoped to broaden the scope of the new Yayasan, from mangrove work to a whole-watershed approach, as MAP Indonesia has been often involved in upland forestry, bamboo and sustainable agriculture work, but was being pigeon-holed to work in the Mangroves only due to its name.

Thus, in 2011, the founders, directors and Board of MAP Indonesia initiated the process of registering Yayasan Hutan Biru (Blue Forests) with the Justice Department. Yayasan Hutan Biru is comprised of all of the current project staff of MAP Indonesia (who are only finishing out this RCL project under that name), as well as many supporters and original founders. Blue Forests will have its base of operations in Yogyakrta, out of the Sanggar CERDAS center, a community center developed by MAP Indonesia in partnership with the village of Pakem,DIY.  If Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia is to continue in Indonesia, a National Director will coordinate with MAP Central, to determine a new MOU.  For the time being, no new contracts will be developed under Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia.

With regards to media products, all media products developed and printed in Indonesia are “copy-left,” and Blue Forests as well as partners will have the rights to print, use and distribute this media freely. In terms of human resources, the entire Perkumpulan MAP Indonesia team, past and present, is ready to support the new Yayasan, and additional staff will be hired through a open bidding process based on project need.

A new name, a new logo, but the same faces, and ideals. And we are ever striving to increase our capacity. Thank you for bearing with us in our effort to improve our service to watershed citizens of Indonesia and the environment which supporters their lives and livelihoods.

This table charts our major donors, work regions, key outcomes, and related documents. bf_logo_fav