Family Festival Cancellation

Unfortunately, due to the 2019-nCoV situation or Coronavirus, the school has decided to cancel all gatherings of over 40 people until August 2020. This was decided by the Singapore government in support of international crisis management. It is quite disappointing as the Family Festival is an exciting and important opportunity for us as a GC. The implications include:

  • Major finance and fund opportunity lost
  • A lost opportunity to sell our products

Meet the Leadership Team


Interviewee Question Answer
Arnav General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

G11 Student 

Current Finance manager

Joined this year 

What interests you about the ocean or conservation? Its importance to the world’s ecosystem and its dynamic nature 
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC? It is sadly one of the only environmental GC’s at our school and I was passionate to contribute to the cause of the environment 
What do you bring to the group? My finance abilities and being able to  keep track of things in an organised manner 
Why did you apply for your position? I was highly motivated to help make a difference in the GC by using my abilities and past experiences in helping with finance and selling products to help us fundraise and keep track of our products

Refer to our inability to do so in the past 

What progress in the group are you most excited for? Our ability to acquire new stuff that we can actually sell to raise money for our cause of saving the oceans!!
Iman  General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

-G11 Student

-Current Chair

-Joined in G8 (3rd Year)

What interests you about the ocean or conservation? -Coming from Malaysia, I have first hand experience regarding the effects of neglecting ocean conservation 
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC?
What do you bring to the group?
Why did you apply for your position?
What progress in the group are you most excited for?
Arjun  General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

I am a grade 11 student and am the current co-vice chair of the GC. This is my 6th year of Gili eco trust after I joined in grade 5.
What interests you about the ocean or conservation? The ocean and marine life in general has always been a passion of mine ever since I was young, as my family introduced me to the wonders of the ocean through snorkelling at a young age. This has grown into a hobby of mine in snorkelling and diving. Having glimpsed what the ocean can offer, and knowing that it is at risk is what brought me to GET, as I wanted to help in any way I could. 
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC? I chose Gili Eco Trust over other GC’s that I was looking to join in grade 5 firstly due to my passion for the ocean, but also because after some research I found that their methods of combating coral destruction were fascinating. The concept of sinking a metal structure under the water and running an electric current through it to accelerate coral growth is still something I get excited about I am explaining it to someone. And Gili being able to convert a local society that once made it’s living off of dynamite and cyanide fishing into one that promotes ecotourism has benefitted both the environment and the lives of the individuals that live there.
What do you bring to the group? Some things that I bring to the group are that I have a commitment to this GC that I place very highly, and am able to lead and direct other students to work in a more effective manner. I offer ideas to groups that are struggling with their tasks and move around trying to help whenever I can. 
Why did you apply for your position? I applied for this position after being logistics manager for 2 years, in both grade 9 and 10, as I felt that I could use my skills that I developed while in that job, as well as my dedication to the GC to try and help lead the GC into a place where we can take initiative to make as much of an impact as possible.
What progress in the group are you most excited for? What I am currently most excited (and worried) about is the introduction of new products to the GC, for the past 5 years we have been taking GC made products from Bali sharks and GET and selling those, and now we have an opportunity to find and sell a different sustainable product.
Mr. Brooks  General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

I have been working with the Gili Eco Trust GC for 5 years, and am now entering my sixth year here. I teach IB Physics and Theory Of Knowledge. 
What interests you about the ocean or conservation? I have lived by the ocean since I was 12, so I have a very personal connection to the sea. Initially, I was interested in general conservation and  climate change activism and was looking for an environmentally focused GC. Reducing my carbon footprint is very important to me.
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC? Gili Eco Trust was the only environmentally focused GC available at the time, and it was focused on things that I care about; like the climate, environment and animal conservation. 
What do you bring to the group? I am the supervisor of the group. I kept it going when, one year, it almost died out. I’ve been the supervisor for 5 years now, and have kept it going since the very start of the group. 
Why did you apply for your position?
What progress in the group are you most excited for? Trying out a lot of events, but now swimdonesia is huge. Gili trip saw the NGO. uwc reef* horse work, the island has no cars, no fresh water NGO is working on education.  Work with the products
Ms. Davies  General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

I am a Science teacher, teaching IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences, IB Biology, and IB Environmental Systems and Societies)
What interests you about the ocean or conservation? I’ve always lived by the sea, and so in University I got a degree in University. I have a personal connection to the ocean. 
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC? In my second year at UWC East, I joined Gili Eco Trust because it was a way to relive University days and stay connected to the ocean. 
What do you bring to the group? I’m very practical, and I like to make new ideas or facilitate them in students. At events, I oversee the finances and make sure things run smoothly. I also bring my scientific knowledge and grown-up perspective. 
Why did you apply for your position?
What progress in the group are you most excited for? I would really like to see the group expand beyond just fundraising; I believe we could have work more on raising awareness in the community. Firstly in the school community (including teachers and parents) and then maybe our greater Singapore community.
Oscar General Bio

(Year, student/teacher, how many years in GET)

I am currently a Grade 11 student at UWCSEA and I have been a part of both the middle and high school GC for a little more than 3 years. I am currently co-vice chair. 
What interests you about the ocean or conservation? I would prefer to use the word worried rather than what interests me about the ocean and conservation as I have pretty much always been worried and increasingly so in my teenage years about the environment due to the importance and significance it has on humans and our lives. The ocean has a big impact on our lives, and many of us, live in coastal cities and our diet consists of seafood especially where I am from in Sweden. 
Why did you choose Gili Eco Trust GC? I chose Gili Eco Trust because I wanted to join a GC in middle school, however, Gili Eco Trust was the only GC that had its main focus on the environmental sustainability which is why I joined. In addition, I had been to the Gili islands and was also a diver and like to swim, so despite it being the only one, ocean conservation like many other areas of environmental sustainability was a deep worry of mine, especially the coral reefs which is what we are working on to maintain and in fact grow at Gili Eco Trust. 
What do you bring to the group? Although quiet and sometimes unconfident, I have always brought my dedication and commitment to the GC as well as my organised and productive skills. 
Why did you apply for your position? I knew that I wasn’t able to become chair, mainly due to my unconfidence but I still wanted to improve my confidence and communication skills, so vice-chair seemed the perfect fit. 
What progress in the group are you most excited for? So far, it is the swimdonesia event. In grade 9 when we joined the event with surf aid and Jakarta street kids, the event was not exciting, but now it is quite a big event especially for primary school and even middle school. 


What Are Bio-Rocks?

Bio-rocks is a relatively new technology that allows corals to regrow into coral reefs. These structures are an essential part of the projects that Gili Eco Trust invest in to rebuild coral reefs in the Gili islands that have been damaged by boats dropping anchors and fishing practices.

Here is a diagram of a bio rock:

Bio-rocks are man-made structures that through electric currents and electro-accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater, stimulate the growth of corals. There are 127 biocoks in gili making it the second-largest program in the world.

Gili has credited their bio rocks to “Marine scientist Wolf Hilbertz in 1974 was researching seashells and coral to find out how they grow. He found that by passing an electrical current through seawater, the salty water electolyzes causing calcium carbonate to combine with magnesium. Chloride and hydroxyl ions slowly form on the cathode and this eventually coats the electrode with a material almost as strong as concrete. Over time this material hardens further, growing and becoming stronger as long as the current flows as much as 5cm per year. It can even heal itself if it were to be damaged and due to it’s high levels of dissolved oxygen it is particularly attractive to marine organisms The superfood for our coral reefs! ”

Students can come to Gili to work on the project and is mainly aimed at gap year students, people on career breaks and anyone interested in more than just a normal vacation. Volunteers can come along to the island and help out on new Bio Rock projects, work on maintaining existing ones or even sinking their very own brand new Bio Rock. Other activities include how to create and maintain a coral garden, learn about environmental threats and coral biology, and how to survey coral gardens.


Gili Eco trusts also offer their very own coral reef awareness course and bio-rock PADI dive course

Here are some of the many bio rocks at the Gili islands:

Bio rocks can look really different and creative like this on in Bali creating interesting landscapes and coral reefs:

Destructive Fishing Techniques (Dynamite and Cyanide Fishing)


As part of Gili Eco Trust, we strongly discourage and look down upon fishing techniques that do more harm than good such as dynamite fishing and cyanide fishing in which other fish and corals are damaged or killed unnecessarily. Below are two examples of what happens when for instance cyanide or dynamite fishing techniques are used:

Coral reefs are important marine and aquatic ecosystems that have huge biodiversity supporting many species. Coral reefs are found around the equator so mainly in tropical regions between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer or 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator. The ocean here is mainly calm, warm and not much wind. Coral reefs also help neighbouring ecosystems like mangroves, seagrass beds and deep-ocean ecosystems.

Coral reefs are situated between 5-60 meters deep and come in three types. Fringing reefs (near the coast), barrier reefs (situated between a lagoon or deep area of water) and atoll (sort of like an island surrounded by a coral reef)

Coral reefs form around the reef crest, reef flat and fore reef (on a hill underwater.

As many knows, coral reefs are important ecosystems, and these fishing techniques are damaging and terrible for coral reefs

Below is a diagram of threats to coral reefs, mainly overfishing techniques:

Many fishing techniques are destructive to these delicate habitats and ecoystems — particularly vital fish breeding grounds like coral reefs and seagrass meadows. Below are some examples of these fishing practices, which happen mainly in south east asia, but have happened in places like Australia

  • Bottom trawling: Before, these trawlers were not used because they could snag and tear but, in the 1980s, more powerful trawlers were introduced which became sort of like a killer machine in which corals were just ripped like plants from the sea bed.

  • Cyanide fishing: In this technique, fishers squirt sodium cyanide into the water to stun fish without killing them, making them easy to catch. However, the bad news with cyanide is that for every live fish caught using cyanide, a square metre of their coral reef home is killed.

  • Dynamite fishing: In this technique, dynamite or other explosives are set off underwater. The dead fish floating to the surface are then simply scooped up. The explosives completely destroy the underwater environment, leaving it as rubble. Dynamite fishing has contributed to most of the massive destruction and sometimes when diving in south-east Asia, one can hear bombs and explosions going off regularly.

  • Ghost fishing: Ghost fishing occurs when fishing gear is lost or abandoned at sea. The gear can continue to catch fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, and other creatures as it drifts through the water and after it becomes snagged on the seabed.

Project Week

As the culminating outdoor education experience at UWCSEA is Project Week in Grade 11 when small groups of students plan their own trips that combine adventure and service, and they travel to a site in the region unaccompanied. South-East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia are the most popular destinations. 

Every year groups from each GC visit their NGO of origin and work and build relationships with them in order to maintain a connection between the NGO and the GC at school. This is crucial which is why this year (2020), two groups consisting of 5-6 people will be helping out and building relationships with Gili Eco Trust at the Gili Islands in Indonesia.

In Gili, the two groups will be joining the green team, a team that organises cleanups. The groups will also help out in the recycling centre on Gili Trawangan, performing and organising beach cleanups, and helping out with the bio-rocks. Gili is split into two teams, the green team, which works on sustainability on land, and the blue team, which works on sustainability on water. The two groups will do a mix of participating in both teams. Gili Eco Trust calls its volunteers it’s Eco Warriors and below is an example of a schedule that most volunteers work on. Bank Sampah is the recycling centre.


Turtles are finding their way back to Gili Trawangan!

Huge changes occurred on Gili Trawangan when the government took to the beach and ordered the clearance of all buildings and structures on the sandy side of Trawangan’s main path.

The government informed all the businesses to take structures, tables and sunbeds off the beach. Although they are still clearing the rubble and foundations, our beaches are now reverting back to their natural state. You can actually see the sea from the main street and the beach isn’t littered with little jewellery stands and restaurants. A true tropical paradise is reviving!

This has made a massive change for the turtles around the island that found their way back to make their nest on the beach. In a weeks’ time, three hawksbill turtles laid their eggs on the beach on the east side. Turtles need clean, dark and peaceful beaches to dig their nests and now Gili is starting to be the perfect example of this!

It’s a great accomplishment for Gili Trawangan to house the nests of hawksbill turtles, as they appear on the IUCN list as critically endangered. Around the Gili Islands, the two main turtle species are green and hawksbill turtles. Hawksbill eggs need 60 days of incubation before they hatch. The biggest reason for the hawksbill to be endangered is human activity. Turtle eggs are still seen as a delicacy in Indonesia and if they survive to juvenile or adulthood, they are fished for their flesh or decorative shell, despite being a protected species.

This article was shared in May of 2017.

2019 Gili Strong Triathlon

The 6th Sporting event to take place in Gili Trawangan, the Gili Strong Triathlon was a big success. The registration fees collected from 28 teams and 35 individuals amounted to 10.6 million rupiah, with all of it going towards the NGO. This is because the local government provided the prize money, and local businesses provided prizes. A raffle was also held, which raised another 12.8 million rupiah. Also, their pop-up eco market stall was at the Gili Festival (a 3-day event after the triathlon) and in total it made 3.7 million rupiah.

Gili Strong Triathlon participants jump into the water to start the swimming part of the race.
Participants starting the swimming part of the race (Image courtesy of Panca Nugraha)

This money will go towards purchasing 1 or 2 second-hand rubbish collection trucks for the island’s daily rubbish collection and renting an excavator to relocated rubbish off an access road to a dump on the island.

Here is the more detailed post on the NGO website:

Initial Reflection and Moving Forward for 2019/2020

November 12th, 2019

It is now the 6th session of Gili Eco Trust in the 2019 – 2020 academic year, and a lot of the initial set-up has been completed. 

Our first session on the 10th of September involved a basic overview of both the GC and the NGO. The leaders summarized their aims and their methods. For example, they explained what biorock is, and why helping the Gili islands is so important. They also gave us the link to the Gili Eco Trust NGO website.

Planning Swimdonesia: (reflection on planning)

Right from the get-go, we organized an event called Swimdonesia with Surf Aid GC and Jakarta Street Kids GC to raise money for our respective GC. This was a big event in which various games were played in and around the pool, and the usual food and beverages were sold. Our ex-chair and ex-vice-chair (now chair) with our MCs for Swimdonesia

Kids of all ages can’t wait to try the Destroyer. 

The Destroyer, the blow-up obstacle course we organize every year for Swimdonesia


Aside from the first session, most of our time has been dedicated to Swimdonesia. Because it was on the 12th of October, we had very little time to get organized as a group before we had to rush to prepare for it. However, our leadership team and some members of our GC did attend some sessions concerning the logistics of the event, finalisation of ideas with all three GCs (Gili Eco Trust, Jakarta Street Kids and Surf Aid) and the final plan. 


Gili Eco Trust GC members working


In our second session, we split up into groups to work on various activities that would occur at the event, such as a quiz, games, and ticket-selling. However, a lot of the fun activities got cancelled. This is because we realised we didn’t have enough time to plan them properly, and we were told by Mr Hannah that we did not have enough people to plan the event. Indeed, many on our team couldn’t or didn’t go to Swimdonesia – but all of us helped in planning it. The challenges in organizing the event can be seen in more detail in our SWOT analysis post


However, the hurried planning for the event has helped us to practise prioritising tasks and quickly analyse the logistics of events we may hold. It will help us in organizing another of our events coming up, the Holiday Fair on the 12th of December.


Leadership Positions:

After finishing Swimdonesia planning, our chair and vice-chair have stepped down. Our new chair is Iman, and our vice-chairs are now Oscar and Arjun. Other leadership positions so far include: Head of finance (Aarnav), and Communications Officer (Ashima).


Goal Setting Document:

The ROLE Plastic Conference 2019

Last month, members of the Gili Eco Trust foundation travelled to Bali to join the ROLE Foundation’s 3rd annual conference and debate regarding the ‘Zero Waste to Ocean’ debate.  

Indonesia is the 2nd largest global contributor to plastic in our oceans. More than 250 people from various organizations and initiatives all over the world, including representatives of the Gili Eco Trust NGO, joined together in the Zero Waste to Oceans – Community Environment & Skills Center to discuss and learn more about who is responsible. Eight speakers from different associations in Bali spoke during the conference. 

Jane Fisher from IWP (Indonesia’s Waste Platform)  started off the debate with an important question, “Who is responsible?”  

 More often than not, plastic and packaging producers insist the blame is on the irresponsible consumer of their product whilst instead, they should be taking responsibility for the materials they produce. More than 500 companies in Bali alone are using single-use plastics that cannot currently be recycled, and one main reason recyclers won’t take on such single-use plastics is down to its extremely low recyclable value. 

To achieve Indonesia’s commitment to reducing plastic waste in the ocean by 30% by 2025, it is essential that the Government puts more pressure on these corporations and take legal actions accordingly. Using the term Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), industries should be taking responsibility for their products throughout their entire life-cycle.

Piet Van Zyl, from Positive Impact Forever, explained that it was difficult for the locals to make a connection between their waste (mis)management (throwing everything in rivers) and actual marine waste. He also stressed the fact that ‘zero waste’ doesn’t exist, everybody is making waste even if it’s only a little bit. Recycling is not the answer and there is no “magic bin” (social acceptance of disposing of your rubbish in a bin thinking that now it has been dealt with). He finished stating that “Reducing marine waste by 30% before 2025 is progress, however, it is not a final achievement”.

So how can we stay positive through all this chaos?

Dr. Surya Anaya (Komunitas Peduli Sampah Bali), Christian Fritz (ecoSmart hub) and Dwi Jayanthi (Plastic Detox) showed many single-use plastic alternatives that can be introduced daily, explaining that there are many different solutions to reduce the use of plastic: metal boxes for take-away, reusable bottles, alternatives to plastic straws etc. Raza Helmi from No Plastic Indonesia highlighted the influencing impact of social media to stop using disposable products. Things like metal straws, reusable cups and bags have started to become very popular amongst influencers all over the world, and thus affecting and improving the mindsets of teenagers and social media users across the globe. They all stress how easy it is to take small steps and make responsible choices to reduce the problem, especially with single-use plastic – even for those who are more reluctant and don’t want to lose their convenient consumer habits.

Following the conference, small debates were held amongst members to determine the roles of the government action over marine plastic waste along with stalls from environmental entrepreneurs and sustainable alternatives and solutions to the problem with plastic. The Gili Eco Trust had a popup eco market stall to show some of the campaigns we continue to work with on Gili Trawangan to forward motions towards a zero-waste-to-oceans approach.

To keep following the incredible work of ROLE Foundation check out the ROLE foundation’s official website. 

Swimdonesia 2019

On October 11th, 2019, we, along with Jakarta Street Kids and Surf Aid hosted the Swimdonesia event of 2019. This event went considerably better than last year, as we were more prepared and improved on our mistakes from last year. However, there were still issues and problems we faced. To reflect on this, we can use the SWOT Analysis or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.


    • A lot of people showed up, including a few middle and high schoolers which are quite unusual for such events as many students in this age range, mainly high schoolers, are not as willing to give up time to support a service event even if it involves something really fun like a giant obstacle course. Also, this was in spite of the quite short advertising period which I think was about two weeks.
    • Sold some surf mud (more sustainable sunblock cream)
    • A lot of young kids, mainly primary school, showed up to go on the destroyer and play in the water play area from, and there were still about 20 people who still wanted to go on the Destroyer (the obstacle course) at 7:30. So it was very popular. When we started the event, almost a hundred kids ran to wait in line and that was exciting to see
    • Our GC helped a bit in food stalls and we sold a lot of pizza and a few drinks as well as other food.
    • The Swim for Life went well as always.
    • Regular announcements as well as publicity on our cause and why we are hosting this event
    • Lifeguards and no one got seriously injured.
    • Quite a few people stayed back to help clean up.

    Time was utilised effectively by cleaning up early


  • Almost no one came to our stall to buy our stuff and I don’t think we sold anything. Also, the only thing we could sell was Surf Mud (a zinc cream that is more sustainable than regular sunscreen). So from that perspective, we couldn’t help our GC or NGO (Gili Eco Trust), however, the sales from the tickets were really good.
  • Not enough water safety people 
  • Not everyone from our GC showed up or couldn’t make it (or perhaps skipped)
  • The lines were sometimes ridiculously long and it kept a lot of people waiting, this caused people to try and cut the queue.
  • The event was not targeted to parents, adults and older students (although some came)
  • Perhaps not everyone understood the cause despite the announcements, which could be because of the Destroyer is a big part of the event
  • Although most of the Destroyer and stalls were set up, we were not as prepared as we could be, for instance, our banner was in the wrong place, it took a while for the event to start rolling and took a while to get the hose in place.
  • The bands would sometimes fall off in the water
  • The was sometimes problems with checking the wristband (ticket) as there are parents who just need to pick their children up and it could be causing confusion who get to pass and who isn’t.
  • We didn’t have that many opportunities to interview the swimmers because they were hesitant and they said no to us 
  • The instruction for some roles were not clear-for instance people doing water safety didn’t really know what exactly to do in the water (or even where to start in the first place until asked a teacher) Additionally some roles were also assigned to people in our GC and another GC, communication was lacking in that there was overlap of roles.
  • An excess of sugar for the candy floss machine – not estimating consumption well enough?
  • Switching roles-sometimes hard to find the next person after the 1-hour slot is finished
  • Wristband check seemed redundant because they were already checked by wristband sales
  • Most people were only there until 4:30 to take the activities bus


  • For food sales, collaborating with sustainable food distributors
  • Advertising to parents, using it as an opportunity to educate them on issues relevant to GET → spread it to the community through them
  • Communicate better with other GCs
  • Selling other products, finding other successes like Surf Mud
  • Starting advertising earlier so it is fresh in people’s minds at the beginning of the year
  • Perhaps the last meeting before the event can have all the relevant GCs meet together to clarify 
  • As an MC we are allowed to hype up the event and keep everyone’s energy going.
  • Merge the food ticket and entry ticket stall
  • Roles should be distributed to GC’s as early as possible, so that extra manpower can be calculated and games can be planned ahead of time with all variables in mind.


  • Not everyone from our GC could attend and that could be because they were willing to, although a few came. The reason for this is that not everyone joins a GC because they are passionate about the cause or want to help. Some people come because they have to or they think its a good idea, or their friends come. That is the consequence of having services so freely available at this school because there is almost a guarantee that not everyone will have enough care or will to do the extra or take part in events that we host. So that is quite a big threat meaning that we lose manpower at big events like this.
  • Some events happened on the same day as Swimdonesia such as Friday Night Lights and other sports events, as well as regular activities. Also, MUN (Model United Nations) had a conference on that day.
  • Only the near school community are allowed to join (due to Singapore regulations)
  • Unable to do all the activities we had hoped because of the short time frame.
  • Some disorganization around sessions before the event (G10 and G11 3-way conferences caused confusion)
  • Need more merchandise to sell 
  • We had to work very long tiring hours, we stayed for the whole event which was a bit boring because we didn’t have much to do.
  • Didn’t communicate enough with other GCs – unorganized distribution of roles through time, as sometimes too many people (until 5) and then not enough (later on) – especially Water safety
  • The destroyer was the biggest attraction- if it rains almost no one will show up.

In order to improve we need to:

  • stricter rules and make sure everyone in our GC comes
  • Get of class earlier to help set up
  • Make sure we have more time to prepare, advertise and be ready for the event during the weeks leading up to it.
  • Have more time to prepare for other activities to cater for more people
  • Include activities and amenities that will attract a larger audience so more donations and proceedings going to our NGOs and cause.
  • Be more organised
  • Have a line system organised and more activities so the lines don’t have to be so long.