Education and awareness to secure the future of dugong and seagrass
The significance of dugongs and seagrasses is poorly understood at local, national, regional and global levels. This is true from a communal perspective, as well as a legislative and governance perspectives. Better information delivered in culturally appropriate ways to target communities and coupled with other social and economic incentives to change behaviour, is crucial to effective conservation.
The awareness of dugongs varies from little to no awareness at all – in some countries, people do not know what a dugong is and prescribe it shark-like characters; in others, cultural beliefs in the healing power of the dugong have led to the loss of the animal; in other countries the dugong is a sacred animal. In, yet others, a food source. Dugong, as magnificent and charismatic sea creatures indicative of ecosystem health is not top of mind.
The lack of information on seagrass ecosystems and their importance for sustaining the livelihoods of coastal communities and the role they play for helping to mitigate climate regulation, maintain marine water quality and marine biodiversity have made the ecosystem of little concern for communities and decision-makers.
The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project raises awareness on both, dugongs and their habitats. The Project collaborates with a broad range of stakeholders and institutions to create enabling environments for the promotion of conservation and sustainable use through capacity building, awareness raising and education programmes.
The Project’s awareness raising works on mobilising support locally and nationally. Dugong and seagrass advocacy capacity is under development in the eight Project countries and will be followed by national and local advocacy campaigns. The knowledge of dugongs and seagrass will also enter classrooms and reach educators and kids at different ages.
Education & Awareness Projects
Total Funding $862,301