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A Thank You To Our Community Team

The Kwanini Foundation would like to extend their special thanks to our diligent and hard-working Community Team who have been operating tirelessly during the current crisis to help spread the message of COVID-19 protection and have been working with us for the past few years to help secure the future of Pemba’s communities.

Rabiya and Aisha

In 2019, following many months of discussions with the marine stakeholders, we realised there were few women represented in either the Fishing or Village Executive Committees. We therefore set ourselves the challenge of increasing women’s representation in marine affairs, an initiative supported by our colleagues in USIAD. As we have previously discussed on the website, we held some interviews for the job of Gender Specialist in July 2019 and recruited two ladies to carry out the work, with Rabia and Aisha joining the team on the 1st August.

By the end of the month, they had developed their own engagement plan and questionnaire to conduct surveys amongst the female seaweed farming community in order to help the Kwanini Foundation gain a better understanding of how the women’s groups use the marine areas both within and outside the Kwanini Marine Conservation Area. Rabia and Aisha’s role immediately expanded to include co-ordinating with the female fisherfolk who use the shallow reef flats to farm the valuable seaweed, meaning for the first time the women of Pemba were able to feel like they had a voice - engaging with our Gender Team and setting their own agenda.

A large part of our work involves engaging with the local community to inform them about the work we do and the importance of conserving the marine environment for future generations; Rabia and Aisha have also spent the past six months working alongside the seaweed farmers to educate them about conflicts between seaweed farming and marine conservation.

The pair have also taken part in the Kwanini Foundation’s Community Advocacy Training; in January of this year, the Kwanini Foundation began an education programme for the local fisherman and seaweed farmers about how the Marine Protected Area (MPA) By-law will impact their day to day lives, and (more crucially) how this will help the environment.

Most recently, Rabiya and Aisha have taken part in the Kwanini Foundation’s efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic; the ladies have been working tirelessly preparing, collating and handing out buckets for water and soap as well as Personal Protective Equipment mask to provide the communities of Pemba with hygiene assistance to combat the spread of the virus. They also helped in our public meeting on May 16th to update more community members on the COVID-19 virus and distribute more Personal Protective Equipment.

Finally, the ladies have also been working to report back to the Kwanini Foundation Executive Committee with updates of the situation on the ground in Pemba, providing an invaluable link between ourselves and the community despite the quarantine situation.
Mr. Ayoub and Mr. Mwinyi

Ayoub and Mwinyi are both founder members of Kwanini Foundation and have been working with the local communities throughout. They play an important role as they are not only Kwanini ambassadors in the field, they also possess the skills to work with the villages to assist in all Kwanini related matters.

They have both been paramount to all our community projects including the water pipe-line and well in Njao, The Manari School project and the Mnarani water pipeline, as well as representing Kwanini at meetings involving district political offices, councils, and committees. The links Mr. Ayoub and Mr. Mwinyi have with the local community members and key players is invaluable to how the Kwanini Foundation works with the islanders. The respect and trust which they have built with the communities over the years is an invaluable source of Kwanini Foundation and local community interaction.

During the COVD-19 prevention and mitigation programme, Ayoub and Mwinyi have worked alongside the rest of the community in taking the message, and the equipment, to the local people on Pemba Island.

Abdulrahim was the latest to join the Kwanini Community team to help mainly with translations and narrations for training videos. He joined the Kwanini Foundation last year and has since expanded his role from assisting the Creative Consultant in creating training modules to more recently providing invaluable aid to the Executive Committee in construction, community development, and health projects. We featured Abdulrahim in our March monthly newsletter, where he told us he is keen to develop his experience in both conservation and community development; one of his latest projects being to oversee the construction of the new school build in Mnarani Village.

Currently, he is proving an amazing asset in our efforts to combat the Coronavirus and help the local people of Pemba in protecting themselves against the threat of infection. Since the exodus from Pemba of the European Kwanini Foundation members, he has truly stepped up to the mark in helping to organise events, spread the message of COVID-19 prevention and procure protective equipment for the people of Pemba. Staying in touch with the Chief Operations Officer (Roly) daily, he has greatly helped facilitate a smooth result from what could have been an incredibly difficult and problematic operation. His personal initiative and commitment to the Kwanini Foundation are impeccable and have been invaluable to the Kwanini Foundation operations team and training team over the past few months; the attitude truly encompassing what it means to be ‘Kwanini’.
Chief Operations Officer’s Footnote: This is not goodbye to all these team members, just a special thank you to them from the Executive Committee and all other members of Kwanini for the extremely hard work they put in as our frontline COVID-19 task force. While the pandemic is on-going, our work in Pemba will slow down but we are still operating. After we get back to ‘normal’ I look forward to working with them all again at full strength.