A word from the Chairman
In 2008, a group of like-minded people at the Manta Resort came together to build a tourism project. In all of us coming together to build this long-term vision, we quickly realised that it wasn’t just about Manta. We were interested in Pemba and its’ future. When we started asking why we had come to Pemba, we realised that we’re here for certain reasons; it’s still a truly tropical island, it’s remote, the culture is intact, the environment is not past the tipping point and there’s real hope, chance and opportunity to keep Pemba a genuinely natural place.
What makes us different is that we are consciously, continuously, asking the question ‘why’ - Kwanini? From these beginnings, the Kwanini Foundation was born. We are focussed primarily on Pemba, and what the island needs to continue to thrive as a natural, cultural island paradise. Other strong points of the Kwanini approach are knowledge, empowerment and involvement. Transferring knowledge through our education and community development projects to give the youth of Pemba an opportunity to reconnect with nature and their environment. Empowering the people of Pemba to be part of the decision-making process through taking part in our Public-Private-Community-Partnership approaches to managing natural resources and involving as many people as possible in our activities is a very big part of the Kwanini philosophy. Enabling the people to do what they need to do, to create a bright future for themselves by providing them with necessary support tools and the knowledge to use them.
In the last ten years we have completed several projects alongside the community. Some have been exceptional successes, like the establishment of our Kwanini Marine Protected Area some five years ago, others have been more of a process, like our water project on nearby Njao island. We have learned a great deal in the past ten years, from both our successes and failures, and have been joined by a team of dedicated local and international experts who have voluntarily given their time to help re-launch the Foundation in 2018 as the organisation you see today.
In the future, we envisage the Kwanini Foundation with a large support base, all sharing the knowledge necessary to develop a sustainable future for Pemba and working to conserve the island as a real, sustainable destination.
If you believe in the future of Pemba, please join us.
For more information related to the work we do and projects we are involved in, feel free to get in touch via our contact page
Meet The Team
Kwanini, why, is my favourite question. Being part of the tourism industry on Pemba Island is how it all began for me. As the CEO/part owner of the Manta Resort and Underwater Room, I believe we have a huge responsibility that requires commitment in getting involved and contributing to Pemba Island. The island is still unexploited by tourism on a social level, but the tipping point is near and the future of the island depends heavily on the impact that tourism will have. The Kwanini Foundation has articulated a vision for the future of Pemba and found common belief in this pursuit. Our aim is to continue developing sustainable strategies for Pemba Island's future tourism. This has the potential of securing a brighter future for the whole region. I split my time between Pemba, Arusha and Sweden and am a keen scuba diver and golfer and have a great passion for conservation projects.
Chief Operations Officer
A diving holiday to the Manta resort in 2016, introduced me to the tranquillity of Pemba island. Meeting the locals in the villages and watching the soccer matches at the local school gave me a better understanding of the hardships and issues faced by many of the islanders in their day to day existence. At the same time, I was introduced to the Kwanini Foundation. Three more visits over the next year, allowed me the opportunity to experience ‘first-hand’ the work that the Foundation was doing. I became a volunteer working on some of the projects along-side the local ‘Kwanini family’ and in meetings with local communities. I truly believe in the Kwanini ethos of working with the people to assist them to protect their livelihoods. I look forward to helping expand the Foundation, work with the Pemba Island people and, with the help and support of other volunteer’s world-wide, improve the conservation and environment on the island whilst improving the livelihood of the local communities.
Director Conservation and Environment
I have been privileged in my long career as a marine ecologist to visit, and work, in a some very special places all over the world. I came to Pemba for a family holiday in 2016 and I was struck not only by its charm but by the significance of the coral reefs. Having travelled the world extensively, I have seen rarely seen a more deserving opportunity to conserve these exceptional examples of coral reefs and the plants and animals that depend upon them. Programmes like the BBCs Planet Earth have shown us how marine life is being affected by sea level warming and plastic pollution, and we have lost one third of the world’s coral reefs since 2014. I am excited about taking on the conservation and environmental challenges which we know exist on this beautiful island and in doing so, hopefully, make a positive contribution to the future of Pemba.
Dr. Bakari S. Asseid
Director Community Development
I am the Director of the Kizimbani Agricultural Training Institute in Zanzibar and am from Tanzania. Over the years in my personal capacity and as a civil servant I have worked with other people in Pemba, formally and informally, to improve the livelihood of the people and the ecosystems they depend for their livelihood. The Kwanini Foundation for me is putting into practice these elements which will help meet my long term inspiration to Pemba’s ecosystems and people
I am a seasoned consultant, nature conservationist, entrepreneur and former U.N. official based in the Cotswolds, a rural part of the United Kingdom. I have spent many years living and working overseas, especially in East Africa where I first visited Zanzibar in 1996 and then spent three months living and studying there. I ventured into Pemba Island in 2018 where I met the Kwanini Foundation team. Due to my background, I bring a unique political, financing and technical strength to the nature conservation sector of Kwanini. I see the Foundation as an important facilitator for a combination of marine ecosystem conservation and local economic growth in Pemba, an enchanting island with great, unspoilt natural beauty in is wonderful coral habitats, fisheries and coastal forests.
Zahor el Kharousy
I work in the Fisheries management sector in Zanzibar, where I am from, and I am involved in the Kwanini Foundation because of my appreciation of the Pemba underwater heritage and the need for it to be protected and restored before it gets lost forever. Kwanini is important for me because of the research and community work the foundation does. I see the Foundation making a difference through the application of best practices in community-based conservation and ensuring that the Pemba underwater heritage empowers its people.
Non Executive Committee
Assistant to VC
I have taken on the role of as Assistant to the Vice Chairman as I am interested in the community development and participation side of the Kwanini Foundation. I want to ensure through education and awareness programs that the communities can implement the policies and strategies of the Foundation and therefore maximize the end result, for their benefit. I have been working in the villages of Wete District and Pemba North Regions in supervising the human rights affairs within the communities. I am looking forward to continuing my work with the village communities of Pemba and making them aware of the Foundation and the opportunities it can provide them with.
Assistant to the Chief Operations Officer
I am from Unguja and currently work at the Manta Resort as the Operations Manager. I am involved in the Kwanini Foundation because I like working with people and I am passionate about the natural environment; therefore, the conservation aspect is important to me. I feel I have the chance to be part of an organisation which will raise awareness of nature amongst both the people of Pemba and those who visit the island and can take that message away with them. Mindfulness and fitness are a big part of my life and I practice yoga and physical training daily. I also very much enjoy learning languages and have so far mastered Swahili, French, English and German.
Conservation and Environment Officer
I am a PhD student studying climate change resilience and restoration of the coral reefs along west coast of Pemba. I live in Brighton in the UK and first came to Pemba because I had been told the coral was amongst some of the best in the world (which is true!). As part of the Kwanini Foundation I would like to help with educating the people of Pemba about how valuable their natural resources are. I want to ensure the communities can to continue to benefit from the sea and land whilst preserving the marine and terrestrial environments. As well as having a love for all things marine (particularly sea slugs!) I love reptiles and cats.
Conservation and Environment Officer
I am a South African environmental consultant and researcher who first came to Pemba to assist with the marine conservation element of the Kwanini Foundation. Through this, I’m hoping to gain experience in researching Pemba’s world class coral reefs and how they grow and change over time. To assist with this, I am setting up a Citizen Science programme to get the public involved in data collection. I also hope to educate more people on the importance of what the Foundation is doing in Pemba. I see the Foundation as helping sustainability and growth within the local communities of Pemba through education, conservation and support of local infrastructure projects, a way to build a better life for the people of Pemba.
Conservation and Environment Officer
Originally from Bournemouth, I came to Pemba as it offered a new adventure for me as well as the chance to continue working in the marine field, which has been a passion of mine since childhood. Pemba isn’t my first tropical destination, I’ve worked in the Seychelles, Mozambique, the Maldives, Qatar and western Australia. In joining the Kwanani Foundation, I hope to have chance to be involved in marine conservation and the necessary research as well as getting involved in the local education and community projects which all aim to provide a more sustainable future for Pemba. I have a huge love for football which started on a family holiday to Barcelona when I was 13 and got the chance to see the first team training at the stadium. Obviously, I support Bournemouth too as they’re my home team!
Assistant to the Director of Community Development
I am from Pemba Island and am therefore interested in the concept of the Kwanini Foundation as it aims to conserve the natural resources of Pemba for future generations. I strongly feel that in order to effectively conserve these natural resources we must involve the community as a whole in the process of conservation, which is what Kwanini is working to achieve. I am excited that the Foundation is working to help local people understand the importance of conservation. I hope that if we work together with the local community, the fisheries and other stakeholders the end result will be the development of the whole society at large.
I work as a service fundi at the Manta Resort and am involved in Kwanini because I am interested in the “future” concept of the Foundation. I want to work with Kwanini to improve the level of education in local villages, which is something I am very passionate about. I believe education should include environmental awareness, as well as academic ability. I hope that through education programs we can contribute to the conservation of the important coral reefs which surround Pemba. I have set up, and continue to run, a voluntary afterschool class in my village of Kijijini to help local children with learning Swahili, English and Maths.
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- 24th December 2018
- 21st December 2018