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P&S Celebrates Environment Week

June 16, 2015
Cremildo Armando, P&S's Marine Natural Resources Manager, talking to the student in Puga Puga

Cremildo Armando, P&S’s Marine Natural Resources Manager, talking to the students in Puga Puga

During the first week of June, the CARE-WWF Alliance’s Program Primeiras and Segundas joined the local government celebrating the Environment’s Week, June 1st to the 5th when World Environment Day was celebrated worldwide. The activities were done in collaboration with the youth of Angoche, including students from four different high schools participating in an information session lead by Cremildo Armando, P&S’s Marine Natural Resources Manager. During this time, 70 students learned about the importance of mangroves, the dangers of using mosquito nets for fishing, the dangers facing sea turtles and the work done by P&S in the communities to raise environmental awareness.

Students during the information session at Angoche's Youth Center

Students at Angoche’s Youth Center

After testing their understanding of the contents learned during the information session, eight students were selected to participate in a field trip with the P&S staff, two teachers and a representative from the government to visit Puga Puga Island and the community of Mitepene, where they talked to a member of the CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management committee).

Before reaching the island, the students were shown the negative effects of climate change in the now uninhabited island of Buzi. When Jokwe Cyclone hit the area in 2008, the community was left unprotected from the strong winds and rains. All of the mangroves were gone and the population had to be moved to the continent. Now, only fishermen go there temporarily to find food. The island is not fit for human life anymore — after having been a thriving community.

In Puga Puga, the students were all eagerly looking for coral washed to the island and asking questions to Cremildo from P&S and to their Biology teacher, Manssur Sumalgy. As they looked through the pages of a guide of the different marine species of Southern Africa, they could also see live a lot of what they were learning. They even found the body of a dead turtle, which sparked a conversation about the importance of teaching people in the community to take care of these protected species.

Students looking through the book and samples in Puga Puga

Students looking through the book and samples in Puga Puga

Coral washed to the island and shell of a dead turtle

Coral reef and shell of a dead turtle in Puga Puga

Aminudine Momade, 12-grade student, and Cremildo Armando

Aminudine Momade, 12-grade, and Cremildo Armando

“People in Angoche don’t have enough information. They don’t know the consequences of taking these protected species from the sea,” said Aminudine Momade from Angoche Secondary School.

After enjoying the seascape from one of the ten Primeiras and Segundas Islands, the next stop for the group was Mitepene. There, the students got a chance to speak their local language, Koti, with one of the members of the CBNRM. They asked him questions about how they spread the message of conservation to the rest of the community, how they replant mangroves, what’s the importance of replanting the mangroves and how the committee helps in case of disasters. Seeing the mangroves that the community planted was also a very special part of the visit, showing them that conservation is also in their own hands.

Hotélio Rodrigues Abdala, 12 grade student, talking to a community member in Mitepene

Hotélio Rodrigues Abdala, 12 grade student, talking to a community member in Mitepene

The last stop hit the students even closer to home. For some, it took them to their own neighborhood, Inguri, where Cremildo explained to them the dangers of climate change and how it could potentially affect them personally in the coming years. In this area, kilometers of houses are crammed right next to the sea with a boats parked right in front. This is a clear proof of how much the environment and the people are intertwined — and of the imminent dangers of climate change. With sea levels rising globally, the division between the land and the sea is decreasing every year. In Inguri, the population lives right at sea level, which is very dangerous for the people living there because they have no natural protection to erosion after the mangroves in the area were all taken down for wood.

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The group in Puga Puga

At the end of the visits, the students were assigned homework. How can they use the knowledge gained today in order to help preserve the environment?

“We can’t let this generation go on without environmental conservation information,” said Cremildo Armando.

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