Development of community health programme in Mozambique holds promise for enacting conservation

August 22, 2016

MZ4 Project Update: Jan thru June 2016

In this period, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) staff had a visit to Madagascar. The visit was organised by Blue Ventures and aimed at building EWT’s capacity for the development and application of community-based incentives for conservation in Mozambique (for more information on this progress see update on MZ1). Needless to say EWT found this exchange very valuable for their work on incentives in the MZ4 project area and gave them insights of different incentives, such as seaweed farming in Bazaruto.

The experience from the field visit to Madagascar and the confirmed interest of local communities in seaweed farming brought EWT to starting an Environmental Impact Assessment to ensure that seaweed aquaculture on the island is both economically and environmentally sustainable.

Similarly to BV under MZ1, EWT reported on the development of an assessment on Sitone community’s livelihood and fishing practice. The assessment helped them identify the fishers that can “test” the alternative livelihoods.

175 community members were interviewed, representing approximately 20% of the Sitone community.

The assessment allowed EWT to understand and quantify the level of reliance on fishing as a primary livelihood and the primary alternative that they need to explore.

A number of meetings with local communities were organised with BV’s support to identify alternative livelihoods. The meetings with communities were used to promote the link between community health and environmental health. With the support of Blue Ventures, EWT identified and trained local communities from each village to support the conduct of the health survey.

EWT begun surveying the coastal seagrass distribution and composition with the aim of setting up a monitoring programme and a protocol to be implemented/ adopted by the communities in conjunction with the park.

Initial works and communications with local authorities showed that there was need to raise the awareness on the impact of seine netting on the seagrasses and other drivers of change to seagrass habitats, and the seagrass distribution in the project area.