Balebat Village

February 2016

Conservation benefit: Protection of 300 acres of mangroves for 15 years

Community benefit: Restoration of damaged women’s meeting house

Traditional culture has a strong hold on the fascinating island state of Yap. Almost every village still has traditional men’s and women’s houses that serve as centers of village life. In these gathering places, village issues are discussed and traditional skills are taught to the next generation. The residents of Balebat Village, working with local NGO Yap Community Action Program, sought a grant from Seacology to renovate their women’s center, which was badly damaged by a typhoon.

Reverence for the natural environment is also an integral part of Yap’s cultural tradition. The people of Balebat want to protect approximately 300 acres of mangrove forest next to the village. The area supports a large variety of sea life, but local people have noticed an alarming decline in fish, clams, and crabs. They want to protect the breeding ground of these important species.

In the protected area, no activities of any type will be allowed—no fishing, no timber cutting, and no hunting for clams and crabs. The area is located on the village shoreline, making it easy to monitor. Anyone who violates the rules will suffer the traditional penalty: His or her land will be seized and turned over to the community.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
January 2018
Renovation of the women’s house has been completed. The community is planning a small ceremony where they will officially turn over the house to the women of the community. The mangrove area...
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May 2017
Renovation of the meeting house was finished in April of this year, under budget. The roof, ceiling, doors, and windows were all repaired, and both the exterior and interior were painted. When the...
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January 2017
Work began last summer, and the new roof is almost completed on the women’s meeting house. The area remains under protection by the community.

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