Family planning and alternatives to fishing get off the ground in Mozambique

August 22, 2016

MZ1 Project Update: Jan thru June 2016

The project lead, Blue Ventures (BV) works in close collaboration with the lead of MZ4, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), sharing experience and lessons learned from the establishment of community-based conservation programmes in Madagascar, providing expert support.

MZ1 supports the incentives work in Mozambique addressing the issues of unmet family planning needs leading to population growth and the lack of local economically viable alternatives to fishing, both leading to pressure on the marine ecosystems and dependent biodiversity, including dugongs.

In this period, MZ1 team conducted experience exchange and local level assessments for the development of the incentives programme. An exchange learning trip to Madagascar for two EWT staff (in Mozambique) to understand community-led incentive-based coastal conservation and development took place in March 2016. The EWT’s Project Coordinator and Programme Manager spent five days at BV’s site on the west coast of Madagascar.

The experience exchange combined the field visits with presentations and a variety of technical training sessions on topics ranging from fisheries monitoring and reproductive health to seaweed farming and integrated community outreach methods. As a result of the visit and the potential development of seaweed in Mozambique, BV put in touch EWT with their industry partner in Madagascar, Copefrito, who showed interest in working with EWT in Mozambique.

Preparations for the development of an integrated Population-Health-Environment (PHE) programme began in this period – a social survey and focus group topics were prepared to assess community strengths and problem-solving histories; health-related knowledge, attitudes and practices; existing access to health information and services; major health problems; typical preventative and care-seeking behaviour; unmet family planning needs; desired access to health information and services; women’s roles in the community (to be completed by September 2016). Health partner mapping and engagement was initiated, with several meetings held with district health officials in Vilanculos and Inhassoro.

Simultaneously, livelihoods needs assessment was completed, with survey results indicating that roughly 75% of the population are involved directly in fisheries as a livelihood, in particular, seine-netting. However, most fisher families also supplement their income with other activities. The average monthly income is ~$52. These findings and focus groups discussions suggested that communities on the Bazaruto island want alternatives to supplement their income, in particular during the period of seine-net closure (3 months from June to August).

In response to these findings, EWT (project MZ4) is assessing the feasibility of developing a pilot seaweed farming initiative with the aim of providing communities on the Bazaruto island with alternatives to fishing.