Wanita Pulau Omadal / Women’s Association of Pulau Omadal (WAPO)
Omadal Island is located off the southeast coast of Semporna, Sabah. Known as one of the oldest trading settlements tracing back around 10 to 11 generations, the island is not only rich in culture and heritage, but also in marine life. The waters surrounding the island contain high concentrations of coral reefs, seagrass and fishes, which form an important food source for aquatic species, and also support the livelihoods of local communities. Besides that, the island is a key nesting grounds for Green and Hawksbill sea turtles in Semporna. Sadly, these natural resources are being threatened by increasing pressures from human activities, such as overfishing, fish bombing, turtle poaching, uncontrolled tourism and coastal development, and pollution.
In 2010, a group of local women came together to work on tackling these and other socio-economic issues. The Women’s Association of Pulau Omadal or Wanita Pulau Omadal (WAPO) champions marine conservation by conducting environmental education and awareness activities such as talks and campaigns on plastic waste pollution and beach clean ups. WWF-Malaysia supports them with capacity building, monitoring and patrolling, and the setting up and management of their own turtle hatchery. WAPO members also initiated handicraft weaving using pandanus or mengkuang leaves found on the island. This allows the women to supplement their household income and preserve their traditional culture.
For the sale of each WAPO product on Pandashop, 70% of the proceeds goes back to WAPO and 30% of the proceeds are channeled to our conservation work, creating a sustainable model for both people and planet.
Find out more about WAPO by following them on their Facebook page @wanitapulauomadal
*Please note that each item is handmade and therefore no two items are the same. Colours in the photos may vary from the actual product.