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.
WOMEN'S HEALTH PROJECT
No women are involved in the marine space in Jangamo – not a one, not in fishing, ecotourism or swimming. Limited access to menstrual products compatible with swimming means no women are learning to swim, and therefore they do not have the option to be involved in the marine space. On top of this, lack of access to menstrual products means many women stop attending school for the duration of their periods, leading to 12 weeks less education a year than their male counterparts. This in turn means illiteracy rates are 50% higher in women, women generally are much less likely to get jobs, have careers and be financially independent, severely limiting their life choices.
Many women are also uninformed as to how the menstrual cycle is involved in sexual reproduction, leading to women getting pregnant very young, married, and dropping out of school all by the age of 15, despite the legal age of marriage being 18 in Mozambique. This lack of sexual education is ultimately leading to women having less control over their own bodies and contraception use through dependency on their husbands.
Women in STEM have always been a minority. Love The Oceans has started their Women’s Health Project, headed up by two local women Edna Guilamba and Recina Nhamussua to increase gender equality by getting more women in the water. This project evolved when the team noticed no girls over the age of 13 were coming to swimming lessons – a project previously supported by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
This project is in its early days, the aim is to be able to provide a range of products for women to be able to use, with a minimal environmental footprint: reusable pads, menstrual cups, tampons and more. The access to cups and tampons will enable more women to learn to swim and do anything their male counterparts can do, slowly evening the playing field and opening opportunities for more women to be involved in marine ecotourism – one of the largest employers in the area – as well as marine conservation – Love The Oceans’ own passion.
The project has the potential to expand into more sexual health talks to both men and women, tackling subjects like contraception, HIV and child marriage. At the moment, the NGO is looking for partners and sponsors for this initiative.
If you’d like to get involved in our Women’s Health Project through sponsorship or partnership, please contact us.
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 LTO invests in improving existing education facilities and building new classrooms through contracting local building teams. 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. Love The Oceans educational outreach project is also facilitating the establishment of the first high school in the area: The local authorities agreed that when we could get each school up to 10 classrooms each (which we have now done) they would change Guinjata and Paindane Schools to primary and secondary schools for the entire area and upgrade the current secondary school to the first high school, meaning education is now available up to the age of 18 for the first time ever in our area.
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.
Since 2018 Love The Oceans’ has been running Sea Safety workshops providing two solid weeks of free swimming lessons to over 1000 children each winter. Every year we have a STA swim tutor join us and we train community members up as swim teachers and lifeguards, as well as 6 of our young adults from our Ocean Conservation Champions program as Aquatic Helpers. In 2023 we trained 5 women from our district as the first female swim teachers from our area.
To date, Love The Oceans’ Sea Safety Program has taught over 3000 children and adults to swim since 2016. We are currently fundraising for the first ever community swimming pool in the area so many more people can learn to swim.
Ocean Conservation Champions
Building on our successful educational outreach in the schools and swimming pool, Love The Oceans has established the Ocean Conservation Champion (OCC) Program: conservation-minded individuals from Jangamo Bay are trained in marine conservation and sustainable fishing to become Ocean Conservation Champions. OCCs are offered the opportunity to further their education, sponsored by Love The Oceans and their partners. This includes things like swimming instructors, scuba & boat qualifications, english lessons and higher education. The role of an OCC 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 OCC 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 Jangamo 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.
2020 saw two of our OCCs join our team permanently, forming a crucial part of our turtle patrol and fisheries team. In 2021 Love The Oceans launched our Education Program sponsoring two OCCs every year to finish high school. In 2021 we also qualified our first 2 OCCs SCUBA too, kindly sponsored by PADI.
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Love The Oceans Conservation charity number 1184402
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