The project that Kwanini Foundation will be undertaking with USAID PROTECT’s assistance is entitled ‘Building a long-term partnership for managing marine protected areas in Pemba’. The overarching goal of the project is to obtain robust scientific data to inform and underpin the management decisions needed to protect the biodiversity and fisheries potential of the coral reefs of western Pemba. Through the project, we are looking to address the key threats to coral reef biodiversity off the north-west coast of Pemba, which are:
• Habitat loss and degradation
• The over-exploitation of marine fisheries
• Managing the impact of climate change through the creation and enhancement of marine protected areas
At the beginning of August, Kwanini Foundation hosted their first stakeholders meeting. Local community groups, including fishermen, police, local council representatives and women’s groups among others were invited to attend presentations which focused on introducing the Kwanini team, the importance of the Kwanini Conservation Marine Area and examples of how similar schemes have produced positive outcomes to the communities. Kwanini is confident that this meeting not only introduced the partnership between the Kwanini Foundation and USAID PROTECT, but also formed the start of an important relationship between the Foundation, government, and local community.
During the project we will be carrying out a wide range of marine surveys with special emphasis on coral, fish and invertebrate populations. Kwanini, together with the community, will also take on the responsibility for patrolling the Kwanini Marine Protected Area; a designated, clearly marked zone safe from fishing and other activities with a harmful impact on the marine resources. This includes the hiring of a ranger team, who will receive training throughout the programme, and the procurement of related equipment to enable an effective and efficient approach to patrolling and enforcing this area as a no-take zone. The rangers will be responsible for for implementing the restrictions on fishing activity within the MPA, in accordance with the byelaw by undertaking daily patrols.
In addition to our outputs directly linked to the Kwanini Marine Protected Area, we have recently expanded our team with the addition of our Gender Relations Officers. These fantastic new additions to the team will facilitate the project by involving local women’s groups with both our marine conservation and community projects. This outreach will compliment similar activities being undertaken with the local fishing communities.
The grant will also facilitate the first steps in the development of a Public-Private-Community Partnership. Through this, the Kwanini Foundation will work towards safeguarding the future of Pemba’s marine environment by helping local communities understand and conserve the natural world on which they depend. We want to improve the governance of marine ecosystems by driving the creation of further marine managed and conservation zones along the west coast of Pemba and to develop the institutional structures that can secure equitable governance and management over these areas.
We are also conscious of the need for long-term sustainability in anything we do. We are working towards establishing a financing model, based on tourist receipts, that will fund our monitoring and surveillance programme, including the rangers, into the future. We are currently exploring ways of strengthening our ‘Snorkelling for Conservation´ programme and building on its success with other initiatives.
The Kwanini Foundation would like to thank USAID PROTECT for accepting the Kwanini Foundation as one of their grantees, and for all of their support that enables us protect and manage marine protected areas in Pemba Island.
If you are interested in donating to, assisting with or finding out more about the Kwanini Foundation please email us at email@example.com.