ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Duration: February 2022 - now
About the project
In Zanzibar 18% of the population lives below the basic need poverty line (2015). Overfishing and tourism activities increased considerably in the last decade. In this way communities try to provide for themselves. But this also puts intense pressure on the reef: corals are dying and the fish population decreases drastically. In effect, for local communities food and nutrition insecurity turns into a critical problem. We want to help local communities to reach a more sustainable way of living and raise awareness about marine and coastal life.
How we educate local communities
The children are our future. We want to help children understand their environment and give them the keys to achieve a better way of life. This is why we provide educational programs at schools in Matemwe, Kilimaju and Kigomani. These are villages in the north-east of Zanzibar. In our program we discuss themes like plastic pollution, sea turtles in danger, hygiene, fish ecology & sustainable fishing practices, corals and beach clean-ups.
The children also take educational trips. Including snorkel trips to show the children the underwater world that most of them didn’t explore yet. They learn how fish and other marine animals find their food, how they hide from predators, how they grow, reproduce and how they defend their territories. Our aim is to instill in them our deep love and passion for the underwater world. As children acquire knowledge and share it with their families and the community, they play a pivotal role in fostering community awareness and advocating for the sustainable management of their marine environment.
Another part of marine education in schools is training the teachers. Many staff members have had limited exposure to nature during their own upbringing and possess minimal knowledge of marine flora, fauna, and ecological processes.
Keeping the local communities up-to-date
One of the most effective ways to increase fish stocks and stop the downward trajectory of ocean ecosystems is to establish and effectively manage marine protected areas. Education and information sessions raise awareness among the local community. Together with the Ministery of Fishery in Zanzibar we organize meetings throughout the year with the local coordinators and the Sheha (village head). We regularly discuss the following topics:
- Sustainable fishing
- Which fish is endangered
- Which fishing techniques are advised
- Dynamite fishing
- The importance of protected marine areas
- The cause of the declining fish stocks
- Plastic in the ocean
- Importance of the coral
- Convince fishermen of the new generation to change to more sustainable methods
We have a dream!
We really believe this these subjects need to be discussed frequentily and intensely. We found for example mosquito nets are still used for fishing. And local fishers still catch whale sharks, turtles an rays. This is a great danger for the life in the ocean.
Every month we have meetings and educational sessions with the six chief villages and fishermen of the north-east of Zanzibar. During these meetings we talk about the support and involvement of the fishermen to reach the best solution in conservation projects and answer their questions. Having the support of the fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on the resources they use, makes the difference between success and failure in achieving the marine conservation goals.
In addition to the information sessions and educational trips, we want to make a short educational film in Swahili. By visualizing the messages in the local language, we aim to reach a wider target group. Showing a film also allows us to reach children who have trouble reading.
Get involved in educating the children, local community and fishermen of Zanzibar. Donations for the environmental education program are more than welcome. Thanks a lot!