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Empowering local promoters of natural resource management

November 18, 2015
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Rosalina Alberto from Ecucuho replanting mangroves

Leaving the management of natural resources at the hands of local communities has been proving to be a good strategy at Primeiras & Segundas. Community members monitor the no-take zones in the Moma estuary and the results have been extremely positive, increasing fish yields and specie diversity. Mangrove replanting initiatives have been successful, raising awareness of the importance of mangroves and their role in reducing the risk for disasters.

P&S has already established 25 Community Based Natural Resource Management Committees (CBNRM) in Angoche, both in the estuary and the Potone Sacred Forest. And 21 CBNRMs in the Moma estuary. Members of these CBNRMs are all playing an essential role in controlling the burning of forests, replanting trees, monitoring no-take zones and raising awareness among fishermen of the negative effects of using harmful fishing practices, such as using mosquito nets.

To facilitate the training of the community members on the approach of natural resource management across all the communities in the Moma estuary, Primeiras & Segundas trained one promoter from each of the committees to spread the message of conservation in order to improve livelihoods and reduce risk of disaster. During the training, both the marine and terrestrial natural resources were explained in depth to the participants, highlighting the importance of coastal forests, mangroves, the estuary and the no-take zones.

 

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Dinis Cachimo talked about the importance of mangroves

The training also served as an exchange of good practices from one committee to another. Dinis Cachimo, the promoter from Mingurine A, showed the other promoters how to gather mangrove seeds and replant them, while explaining the advantages of having healthy mangroves in terms of protection from strong winds and increase in fish yields.

Zeferino Amisse Phuelia, one of the community monitors of the no-take zone in Tapua, also led a visit to his community to show the other promoters how to take advantage of the plentiful fish in the spillover zones, which are located 20 meters away from the limits of the no-take zones.

“More than 80% of the population in Mozambique depends on natural resources,” said Marcos Assane, P&S’s Terrestrial Natural Resources Manager. “The main goal of sustainable management of natural resources is to guarantee the livelihoods of families.”

Farming for the Future

October 26, 2015

Celebrity chef Cat Cora talks about her recent trip to Mozambique and her meeting with Deolinda Amade. In this video, she talks about the importance of empowering women farmers to help them feed their families and ensure their children’s nutrition. Deolinda is a mother of 8 children, a farmer and the president of the Farmer Field School (FFS) in Mahile. She recognizes the importance of providing a good nutrition for her children so that they are able to concentrate at school.

The video is a call to action petitioning lawmakers in the United States to support the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 1567 and S. 1252). Click here to show your support and sign the petition.

A call to action around the Global Food Security Act

October 13, 2015
Alima Assane is a mother of 5, providing for her family by gathering crabs and seashells from the mangroves. Photo by Morgana Wingard.

Alima Assane is a mother of 5 providing for her family by gathering crabs and seashells from the mangroves. Photo by Morgana Wingard.

A mother’s daunting task is a first-hand account of Cat Cora’s visit to the Angoche estuary highlighting her life as a mother, a chef and a food security advocate. As a part of Devex’s Future Fortified series, Cat Cora writes that “motherhood is a universal concept”, describing what she experienced during her recent visit and calling to action supporting the United States’ Global Food Security Act of 2015 (S.1252 and H.R. 1567). The legislation requires a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for global food security that focuses on women and smallholder producers and leverages best natural resource management practices.

The publication coincided with the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number two calls to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, which directly relates to the work done at Primeiras e Segundas through the FFS.

Cat Cora is Food Network’s Iron Chef first female winner and the founder of the non-profit organization,Chefs for Humanity. Read her account by clicking here.

Poachers still pose a threat for sea turtles

September 23, 2015
One of the seven turtles rescued being released

One of the seven rescued turtles being released

Seven live turtles were found at Fogo Island in the hands of a group of fishermen. The turtles were all released and are now safely swimming in the Indian Ocean. The discovery happened during a recent trip with the administrators of the four districts covered by the PSEPA, Angoche, Moma, Larde and Pebane.

The turtles were found hidden under dry branches, ready to be killed. The poachers would have then smoked the meat and sell it. The administrators were clearly angry about the discovery and the leader of the poachers was apprehended and taken to Moma for questioning and conviction. After that, the seven turtles were taken by boat some kilometers off the island and were then released.

Poachers are believed to have their base in Fogo Island, off the coast of Larde, where they are taking advantage of the lack of law enforcement in the archipelago. Sea turtles are at high risk in the area because of opportunistic poachers that have found a market for the meat and their eggs, which are also taken from nests on the islands. Poachers first make sure that the turtle’s shells are well preserved, proceed to smoke the meat and then sell both in Angoche and Larde.

The leader of the poachers was apprehended and taken to Moma for questioning and conviction

The leader of the poachers was apprehended and taken to Moma for questioning and conviction

The 10 islands in the PSEPA are uninhabited. This factor and the lack of law enforcement officials, transportation for police officers and slim livelihood options for many of the fishermen are the main reason why the sea turtles are being targeted. Turtles in the Primeiras e Segundas archipelago have been poached for years. The Primeiras e Segundas program has fought this malpractice since the program started. At first, there were rangers in the islands catching poachers and raising awareness among fishermen of the importance of protecting species like turtles, seagulls and other protected species. Under Mozambican law, poachers can be charged with a 50,000 MTCs (about $1,600 USD) fine if they are found poaching sea turtles. Fishermen are taught through Community Based Natural Resource Management Committees (CBNRM) that turtles should be protected and that poaching turtles is a crime. Fishermen are also explained that turtles don’t reach their reproductive age until they are 20 or 30, and the difficulty turtles face at the early stages of their lives. If turtles are not poached, they can live more than 100 years and they could potentially be a big draw for tourism to the area, which would create more livelihood options.

In the end, the importance of protecting species like sea turtles was highlighted by this discovery of these poachers, and having the administrators as witnesses would likely lead to a stronger alliance between the government and the program. In the future, government partners will know the situation in the PSEPA and how important it is to ensure that the community is aware of the importance of protected species and monitoring their well being. As a result of this visit, administrators from all the districts in the PSEPA now have a better understanding of the biodiversity of the area and they saw first-hand the challenges of conservation.

Opening up a conservation dialogue with government officials

September 23, 2015
Administrators and government officials from Angoche, Larde, Moma and Pebane

Administrators and government officials from Angoche, Larde, Moma and Pebane

Government representatives from the four districts covered by the PSEPA were invited by the CARE-WWF Alliance to visit eight of the ten islands in the archipelago, so they could appreciate the biodiversity in the PSEPA, identifying the challenges of natural resource management and coming up with solutions to jointly address these challenges.

Some of the conservation challenges identified by the government officials were the lack of law enforcement agents on the ground, lack of transportation to reach the islands and few alternative livelihoods for families living along the coast increasing pressure on fishing. During the visit, the officials found a group of poachers with seven live turtles ready to be killed. This discovery emphasized the need of law enforcement and monitoring of the Primeiras e Segundas islands in order to guarantee the survival of species such as sea turtles and seagulls.

Community monitors in the Moma no-take zones are already playing a vital role in conservation

Community monitors in the Moma no-take zones are already playing a vital role in conservation

The solutions to these problems proposed during the visit were expanding community awareness campaigns, encouraging routine patrols in the PSEPA, and a joint law enforcement approach by the government and stakeholders in Angoche, Larde, Moma and Pebane. Government officials also highlighted the importance of expanding the community management of natural resources, which is already one of the interventions in the area. There are 13 Community Based Natural Resource Management Committees (CBNRM), with 6 new committees expected to be trained, in the Angoche estuary; and there are 21 CBNRMs in the Moma estuary. The members of the CBNRMs are trained on the importance of protecting endangered species, protecting mangroves and avoiding the use of harmful fishing practices, such as using mosquito nets to fish.

The government officials also discussed the importance of the management plan for the PSEPA that was already drafted by outside consultants and presented to the Mozambican government for approval during the next session. Some of the details of the management plan were discussed; these include yearlong monitoring of the islands and the ban on drag net fishing in some areas of the archipelago. The officials welcomed these restrictions as long as livelihood alternatives, such as agriculture, are also presented to the artisanal fishermen.

Providing livelihood options for fishermen was part of the dialogue

Providing livelihood options for fishermen was part of the dialogue

Alternatives are already being presented to the fishermen in the region, who are all encouraged to be part of the Farmer Field Schools and other associations, guaranteeing that their livelihoods are diversified, making them more resilient in case of disasters and ensuring that women are also provided with livelihood options.

In the end, the administrators and the other government partners are essential to the sustainability of the project. For this reason, it is essential for them to witness the situation in the PSEPA. After the visit, a dialogue was initiated to intervene in environmental protection, and the course of action that the government needs to take to guarantee the biodiversity present in their own districts, which in turn sustains the livelihoods of a growing number of their own constituents.

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