The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World's Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative
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The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World’s Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative

Seven advocates from around the world, with representation from Southeast Asia by the renowned Malaysian marine biologist Alif Kazman, successfully concluded a 10-day coral reef restoration program at the SHEBA® Hope Reef in Indonesia’s Spermonde Archipelago.

SHEBA®, the pet food brand under the umbrella of Mars, Incorporated, has achieved a significant milestone by completing the SHEBA Hope Advocate Program. This innovative initiative included two Indonesian hosts and five global advocates from the SHEBA® Hope Grows Collective, representing the UK, Germany, the USA, and Southeast Asia. Alif Kazman, a distinguished marine biologist from Malaysia, serves as the Southeast Asia representative.

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World's Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative

The culmination of their 10-day journey took place at the SHEBA® Hope Reef, situated on Bontosua Island in the Spermonde Archipelago off the coast of Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. During their time there, the advocates engaged with the local community and received hands-on training in restoration techniques. They actively participated in coral reef restoration using Reef Stars, a pivotal Mars-Assisted Reef Restoration System component.

Alif Kazman, reflecting on his experience, expressed his gratitude for being selected as a SHEBA® Hope Advocate to represent Southeast Asia. He emphasized the eye-opening nature of witnessing the SHEBA® Hope Reef’s vast scale and profound impact on local communities, researchers, and field officers who collaborate towards its conservation. Alif viewed this opportunity as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and expressed his eagerness to disseminate knowledge about marine conservation among his peers and the younger generation.

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World's Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program is vital in the global reef restoration movement known as SHEBA® Hope Grows. This movement began in 2019 by creating a 46×14-meter structure spelling the word “HOPE” on Bontosua Island using restored coral. What was once a barren and lifeless underwater landscape has now transformed into a thriving coral reef ecosystem, with coral growth surging from 2% to an impressive 70%, a 260% increase in fish populations, and a 64% rise in fish species. SHEBA® aspires to restore over 185,000 square meters of coral reefs by 2029, equivalent to approximately 148 Olympic-sized swimming pools, at key locations worldwide.

Dr. Susan Wan, General Manager of Mars Petcare Indonesia, underlined the SHEBA® brand’s commitment to creating a better world for pets and its broader purpose. Beyond being a cat food company, the SHEBA® brand’s Hope Grows movement serves as an inspiring catalyst for change. Dr. Wan stressed the increasing importance of environmental protection, climate action, and support for local communities, all of which are central to their program’s mission.

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World's Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program garnered an overwhelmingly positive response globally, with more than 250 applications pouring in from the US, UK, Germany, and Southeast Asia, including over 50 from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The seven advocates were meticulously selected based on their passion for ocean conservation. Their work is instrumental in preserving and restoring the ocean’s beauty and securing its future viability, extending its impact beyond the coral reefs directly restored by SHEBA to encompass local communities, tourism, and education in Indonesia.

Concurrently with the SHEBA® Hope Advocate program, the SHEBA® brand has partnered with select retailers in the Philippines to collect donations. These contributions will be used to create Reef Stars that will be planted in the iconic SHEBA® Hope Reef on Bontosua Island, Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia. For every purchase of any SHEBA® product in Lazada Philippines (Pedigree and Whiskas Flagship Store), 5% of the purchase value will be channeled toward coral reef restoration in the SHEBA Hope Reef.

The SHEBA® Hope Advocate Program: Advancing the World's Largest Global Coral Reef Restoration Initiative

SHEBA®’s sustainability endeavors are underpinned by the steadfast support of its parent company, Mars, Incorporated, in its mission to protect the planet. Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan encapsulates the company’s commitment to building a better world for future generations today.

Those interested in joining the global coral restoration movement can stay engaged by following the Hope Grows movement online through the SHEBA® Hope Grows website and SHEBA® Hope Grows Instagram. This movement embodies the spirit of collective action in safeguarding our precious oceans and marine ecosystems.

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