Baa Maalhos hosts Alun Balun Resale Market to celebrate World Tourism Day 

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To commemorate World Tourism Day, the Women’s Development Committees (WDCs) of six islands in Baa Atoll hosted a special edition of the Alun Balun Resale Market in Baa Maalhos on Friday (24 November).

In collaboration with the Maalhos Council and Soneva Namoona, the Alun Balun Resale market was led by the Women’s Development Committees (WDCs) of Baa Maalhos, Dharavandhoo, Kihaadhoo, Dhonfanu, Kudarikilu and Kendhoo. This is the first such market held with the presence of all participating islands Baa Atoll. 

For the resale market, secondhand goods were collected from participating islands, nearby resorts and from Male’, with over 400 items collected within just 5 days from Male’ alone. 

The market aims to foster a culture of re-use and resource conservation, while empowering women as environmental stewards and leaders. The market connects the WDCs of the seven islands, providing access to secondhand goods at a reasonable price, extending the useful life span of products and reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills. 

The Alun Balun Resale market in Maalhos was held at Maalhos School. The event was attended by Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and women’s rights activist Aneesa Ahmed as the Chief Guest. 

The market featured collected secondhand clothes, shoes, accessories, books, household items and toys. Upcycled craft items made from waste material by local craftsmen as well local delicacies prepared by the WDCs were available at the market. The market also hosted a cultural village, face painting and a special performance from a tourist in Maalhos.

“As we celebrate initiatives like the Alun Balun Resale Market, we must acknowledge the pivotal role they play in empowering women in these islands. I applaud the WDCs for their tireless efforts and Soneva Namoona for their unwavering support in championing this cause, paving the way for a more empowered, environmentally conscious and sustainable future for women in our communities,” said Aneesa Ahmed. 

The Alun Balun Resale Market initiative, which began at Baa Atoll, has also been introduced in Noonu Atoll with the support of Soneva Namoona. All combined, the markets have generated more than MVR 30,000 in revenue for the participating WDCs. 

“In addition to contributions from the islands and Male’, we received generous donations from nearby resorts – Amillafushi, Dhigufaru, and Soneva Fushi. We extend our gratitude to these resorts for supporting the Alun Balun Market, which has revitalised the Women’s Development Committees of our islands. This impact extends beyond product lifespan and waste reduction, playing a crucial role in fostering community cohesion and sustainability,” said Nuzuhath Ahmed, the Maalhos WDC President. 

Khady Hamid, Soneva Namoona Reduce Manager said: ”Soneva Namoona is honoured to stand alongside the WDCs in this remarkable journey toward sustainability and empowerment. We extend our deepest gratitude to these committed committees for their unwavering dedication and active involvement, as well as the Maalhos Council which has been instrumental in making yesterday’s market a resounding success.”

Soneva Namoona is a Non-Governmental Organization that is pioneering a new approach to waste management in the Maldives, by focusing on island-level solutions. Having piloted their sustainable waste management programs in Baa Atoll, the NGO recently signed an MoU with Noonu Atoll Council to provide strategic and technical assistance to implement the Namoona Sustainable Waste Management model across Noonu Atoll. 

The Alun Balun Resale Market is an innovative initiative introduced by Soneva Namoona in collaboration with Women’s Development Committees (WDCs) in the Maldives. It aims to foster a culture of reuse and resource conservation while empowering women as environmental stewards.The programme was first launched in Baa Atoll with the participation of Baa Maalhos, Dharavandhoo, Kihaadhoo, Dhonfanu. Kudarikilu, Kamadhoo and Kendhoo, and has since expanded to Noonu Atoll.