EDUCATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING
Love The Oceans believes in a community-led, holistic approach to conservation. Through educational outreach and capacity-building community workshops in sustainable fishing, Love The Oceans aims to facilitate the transition from current unsustainable fishing practices and targeted elasmobranch fisheries towards sustainable fishing supplemented by alternative livelihoods.
Marine Resource Management
The core of our community-led conservation approach is education: Love The Oceans works in two local schools, Guinjata School and Paindane School, teaching Marine Resource Management and Sea Safety. We are teaching the next generation of fishermen why sustainable marine resource management is important to ensure sustainable fish stocks for generations to come and how sustainability ultimately benefits them and their families. The sustainable Marine Resource Management lessons are focused on establishing a knowledgebase on marine biology and conservation, giving an introduction to mitigation and management measures (sustainable fishing methods, fishing quotas, seasonal closures and marine protected areas), and ecotourism as an alternative source of income. Our experience is that the majority of what is taught during our Marine Resource Management lessons is brought home and discussed with the families, ultimately benefitting a much bigger audience than just the students attending our lessons.
In addition to working with the next generation of fishermen in the schools, we also run capacity-building community workshops on sustainable fishing with active fishermen to build the much needed local capacity in sustainable fishing and a solid knowledgebase on marine conservation. Equipped with the right tools and knowledge our local communities are enabled to successfully transition towards sustainable fishing, ending elasmobranch fishing and establishing a Marine Protected Area with a long-term, sustainable outcome beneficial for both ecosystems and communities.
Improvement of Education Facilities
As part of our educational outreach projects, Love The Oceans’ expedition participants paint educational murals and we invest in improving existing education facilities and building new classrooms. As a result of Love The Oceans’ maintenance and construction work, parents no longer have to pay the mandatory maintenance fee that they previously had to cover to send their children to school, which means that our educational projects are currently sponsoring free education for almost 1500 children. By 2020 Love The Oceans educational outreach projects will also facilitate the establishment of the first secondary schools in the area: The local authorities have agreed to elevate Guinjata and Paindane School to secondary school status by providing teachers and teaching materials, once each of the schools reach 10 solid classrooms.
As part of Love The Oceans’ commitment to the local community, we teach Sea Safety and deliver free swimming lessons to the school children on a weekly basis. Sea safety and swimming are essential skills that not only save lives, but also open a new avenue of possibilities: Despite the fact that 33% of the population lives within 25 km of the coast, very few Mozambicans know how to swim. We are aiming to change this in our area by giving free swimming lessons to the children from our local schools on Saturday afternoons. The lessons are crucial, not just to improve water safety, but also to encourage the children to get in the water and hopefully spark their passion for the Ocean. Adding swimming to their skillset also creates a new range of future job opportunities in ecotourism.
In August 2018 & 2019 Love The Oceans’ ran the first Sea Safety workshops with the support of Angel Swim London, providing two weeks of free swimming lessons to over 200 children each winter. As part of the workshop our Community Outreach Manager, Pascal Nhamussua, also achieved the internationally recognised STA Award in Teaching Swimming as the first Mozambique citizen, and 6 of our young adults from our Ocean Conservation Champions program were qualified as Aquatic Helpers.
To date, Love The Oceans’ Sea Safety Program has taught over 800 children and adults to swim since 2016.
Ocean Conservation Champions
The Ocean Conservation Champion Program is the newest tier in Love The Oceans’ conservation strategy. Building on our successful educational outreach in the schools, Love The Oceans has established the Ocean Conservation Champion Program: Influential and conservation-minded individuals from the communities in Guinjata, Paindane and Coconut Bay are trained in marine conservation and sustainable fishing to become Ocean Conservation Champions. The role of an Ocean Conservation Champion is to act as an ambassador in their community; raising awareness about local marine conservation issues, delivering capacity-building workshops on conservation and sustainability, and leading marine conservation efforts. The aim of the Ocean Conservation Champion program is to train Champions to enable them to liaise with their communities to:
- Identify conservation issues regarding current fishing practices and targeted elasmobranch fishing;
- Assist with the identification and development of biodiversity targets for the envisaged Marine Protected Area in Guinjata Bay;
- Develop and implement conservation and management measures for the envisaged Marine Protected Area
- Lead community workshops on sustainable fishing and marine resource management;
- Identify sustainable livelihoods resources;
- Ultimately facilitate the establishment of an MPA with the support of LTO.
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