It was on December 26th 2004 that a devastating tsunami hit Asia, causing the death of thousands of people. Amongst them were 12- and 8-year-old Jan and his brother Oscar. This gave birth to the Jan and Oscar Foundation, a Swiss-Thai humanitarian solidarity project.
Since then, forty initiatives have been carefully endorsed, and amongst them, The Moken Guardians of the Sea project.
Moken Guardians of the Sea
The Moken community (also called the “Gypsies of the Sea” due to their semi-nomadic living habits) are settled in a remote area located between Burma and Thailand, on the seashores of the Andaman Sea. Their livelihoods have traditionally depended on the ocean, which explains their amazing free-diving fishing capabilities, but the tsunami changed many things.
The Moken children that attended the J&O’s Foundation school built in 2014 have now become young adults and find themselves amiss. Indeed, their lack of formal citizenship hinder their access to trainings, formal jobs and medical services.
The Moken Guardians of the Sea project aims at partially offsetting some of these hardships by helping set up a sustainable and regenerative source of continuous income. It is aligned with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals #1, 4 and 13 and to that effect, after careful consideration, the Foundation chose in 2018 to focus on the growing ocean-bound plastic waste produced in the region.
In a nutshell, the project currently supports circular economy pilots with IUCN and Marplasticcs. It focuses on three vectors: collect & recycle plastic waste from the Andaman Sea and its coastlines; recycle plastic waste from Ranong to prevent it from reaching the ocean; and promote 3R (Reduce-Reuse and Recycle) programs in local schools, educate islanders and the local community to help form environmental consciousness and habits, while regenerating the Moken’s ecosystem.
The ocean-bound plastic waste Mokens and other local fishermen collect on seashores, in river beds and in the Andaman Sea are consolidated, separated, cleansed and compacted at the main warehouse before being processed into ocean-plastic shreds. This valued commodity is thereafter sought by environmentally conscious producers (of food & non-food bottles, of fabrics, of furniture or carpets) who integrate it into their final products, therefore contributing towards reducing future impacts on the environment while supporting the Moken community. Corporations can help make a difference by supporting this initiative as a Corporate Social Responsibility endeavor or connecting ocean-plastic buyers to the non-profit J&O Foundation.
The revenue thereto generated is returned to both Moken collectors and selectors in recognition of their efforts and used for transportation and processing of this semi-finished material.
OriginFood traceability modules
The market price and successful commercialization of recycled ocean-plastics is directly proportional to its certifiable origin, which is the reason why potential buyers of this commodity demand verifiable traceability and total transparency. Credibly complying with such requirements can at times prove to be quite a difficult task when factors such as disciplined collection and selection of “raw materials”, stakeholders’ reliability, continuous onboarding or recurring supervision have to be considered.
It’s therefore not surprising that when the J&O Foundation sat down with OriginFood to explore leveraging smart blockchain ocean-plastic traceability for the Moken Guardians of the Sea project, that an immediate understanding was envisioned.
This inspiring partnership intends leveraging OriginFood’s expertise in digitalizing supply chain processes, transactions or material flows, as well as tracking materials (or assets) throughout a production lifecycle commonly branded “from farm to fork” in the food industry.
The precious learnings gathered during OriginFood’s previous deployments of proprietary modules, used in projects related to cacao collection, consolidation and processing, or in the context of coffee farmers’ verifiable compensation -amongst others- have been identified as Moken Guardians of the Sea project’s functional building blocks.
We’ve all seen this before: too frequently do consultants and application developers focus on expected outputs (and reports) and tend to forget the actual operators, that is, those that will essentially use and populate the system, those whose day-to-day will ultimately be impacted…and this is absolutely critical to the adoption of long-lasting solutions in general and their sustainable success. This is a singular area of expertise that OriginFood aggregates: the Users are always at the center of any solution. This is because they are the ones that will either adopt or rebut chosen processes.
OriginFood team’s credible hands-on exposure to global multi-market operations are enhanced by proven competencies in customizing easy-to-use-and-deploy tracking programs on sturdy hardware. Additionally, User interfaces are consistently thought through for rugged conditions. This makes of OriginFood a wholesome potential partner to any endeavor envisioning digital transformation, irrespective of the Users’ location and/or intuitiveness.
The Blockchain and OriginFood
By digitizing assets and optimizing resources, OriginFood will customize proven tracking modules that resolve real operational hurdles and maximize value. The expected deliverable is to conduce a continuous burden-less recognition and a reliable validation of multiple collectors’ and selectors’ participation across all production stages, while seamlessly tracking the flow of the plastics “from the sea to a recycled regenerated product”.
Furthermore, on a more technical note, OriginFood will leverage its secure Mercure Server infrastructure to recurrently bridge traced data points and events obtained in daily operations on to the Blockchain, hence ensuring total immutability, reliability, transparency and trust. This will in turn enable the obtention of multiple globally recognized ocean-plastic certification credentials that will further facilitate acquiring new contracts with selective buyers.
For more information and participate in the initiative: