Building coastal community knowledge and skills

Oceans, Coasts & People

E

© WWF-Canon / Peter DENTON

ducation is a powerful driver of development. With training and education come new skills, new knowledge, and new possibilities for individuals and their communities.

in asking governments and other agencies to provide public facilities such as new schools or extended operation of existing schools. In addition, families with improved incomes are more able to send their children to school. Thus, while education may not be widely recognized as being within the mandate of conservation organizations, many conservation efforts either implicitly or explicitly contribute towards – and benefit from – improved education. In this context, partnerships based around education between development agencies, conservation organizations, and local stakeholders are extremely valuable to achieve broader sustainable development goals.

While their indigenous knowledge and expertise may be high, coastal communities in developing countries often have poor access to schools and schooling, let alone higher education opportunities. Such communities are therefore missing technical or scientific learning essential to addressing threats at a larger scale or from new sources. Conservation efforts have long recognized the value in building knowledge and skills within such communities to help them find more sustainable means of making a living. Benefits from these efforts accrue both in the protection of marine and coastal resources and in improving people’s livelihoods. Learning is best viewed as a two-way street, where local knowledge adds greatly to science and the combination of the two brings powerful results. WWF has found that such efforts have a positive feedback on education: governments are more likely to provide schools to economically growing communities than to declining ones. Communities that regain control over their natural resources and strengthen and diversify their economic base also become more assertive

Education, training, and marine conservation
Many marine conservation projects in which WWF is involved support education of different kinds and at different levels.

Improving environmental knowledge
Broad environmental awareness is low in many coastal communities, so there are great returns to both communities and ecosystems in building systemic general

which is being established by WWF. the effects of fishing regimes and restrictions. to attend holiday camps where they learn about conservation. such as catch and population measurement and the use of community wellbeing indicators. will Bazaruto Island. This training is usually conducted as two-way learning process where outside and local knowledge is shared. 2003 © WWF-Malaysia / Eric Madeja • Fishers go legal after sustainable fishing education A group of Tanzanian youths who used to earn their living by fishing with prohibited nets and acting as sales agents for other illegal fishers are now going legal – and crediting environmental education programmes on sustainable fishing with influencing their decision. storing.1 © WWF-Canon / Tanya PETERSEN Designing a logo for the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park. 1 MacDonald. As part of the project. and persuaded their families to protect marine turtles. project staff. Sabah. M. IUCN. Girls attending the camps have taken their new knowledge home with them. Kenya. The network. This can include through formal education by helping students attend school. and marketing catches. teacher training. and to establish a similar general forum and a specific marine protected area management forum at the ecoregion level. (2003) Education for girls: Seeding the future in Kenya. sustainable fishing practices.Building capacity for marine resource management Even greater benefits are possible through training community members. the UK Marine Conservation Society. Mozambique. including the biology of economically and environmentally important species. and educational equipment. • A learning network for a region The East Africa Marine Ecoregion (EAME) Marine Protected Area learning network is an ambitious. and other partner organizations. UNEP. and beach cleanups. As part of work to improve girls’ access to school (see “Empowering women in coastal communities” fact sheet). It can cover a range of topics. and Nature Link of Belgium are working with teachers and schools to increase conservation awareness. region-wide project seeking to establish a national marine forum for Mozambique to parallel existing forums in Kenya and Tanzania. and better processes for landing. and providing curriculum support. Satya magazine September 15. tagging marine turtles. Coral Triangle. Malaysia. environmental knowledge. processing. WWF and partners Sabah Parks. two island communities’ schools have been provided with solar powered laptop computers and “IT corners” stocked with awareness materials. . WWF is helping girls in Kiunga National Marine Reserve. and even government officials on marine resource management and related skills. Training is also often provided in resource monitoring and evaluation methods. Such training and information dissemination sessions are sometimes the most sustained exposure communities have had to formal education. • Working with schools In the Semporna Islands off the coast of Sabah in Malaysia.

visited sites on other islands where improved livelihood and conservation approaches were being promoted. and community members from Roxas. including establishing marine sanctuaries to promote fish production and improved livelihoods. While the preferred strategy is to develop locally owned and operated tourism facilities. and Mozambique enabled them to learn about and discuss participatory approaches and livelihood activities in different parts of the region.Philippines support key individuals to attend relevant conferences. This can involve practical training for these activities. In East Africa. and provided new ideas to apply in their own areas. This is particularly an issue with outside tourism development. Many conservation projects also provide training to support the creation of other new livelihoods such as sustainable aquaculture (see “Boosting coastal liveli- . exchange visits between marine protected area managers from Tanzania. government decision-makers. scientists. • Learning by example In the Philippines. and members of partner organizations. local leaders. Coral Triangle. as hotel and resort proprietors often bring in new people from elsewhere and commonly relegate local community members to the more menial employment. The network is also supporting the development of marine and environment curricula at universities and other tertiary-level institutions. • New livelihoods In the Solomon Islands. the mayor. The Philippines. and politicians.Donsol whale shark festival. WWF helped train local people in aquarium culture of specimens as part of work to establish alternative livelihoods based on supplying fish and ornaments for the aquarium trade. © WWF. many conservation projects also provide training to enable local people to secure jobs in outsider-owned establishments. Providing new opportunities One reason it is especially important to improve educational opportunities early on in development initiatives is that employment opportunities readily ‘leak’ to outsiders if educational levels in a community are low. hoods” fact sheet). as well as run a ‘best practice’ exchange programme involving leading community members. Kenya. as well as training in the operation of community organizations and credit schemes. Palawan Island. Donsol. They then started to implement the same approaches in their own district.

© WWF-Canon / Soh Koon CHNG Mangrove monitoring.panda. WWF staff has gained experience in facilitating community development of natural resource management plans. Solomon Islands.07 . coastal zone management. coastal geography.org/marine © 1986 Panda symbol WWF – World Wide Fund For Nature ( Formerly World Wildlife Fund ) © WWF-Canon / Jason RUBENS ® “WWF” & “ living planet” are WWF Registered Trademarks – 12. and undergone Financial Literacy Training run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Centre for Small and Micro-Enterprises Development (NCSMED) in order to improve the financial literacy and management skills of 1. Mafia Island. This will stabilize the security and livelihood of households and lead to more sustainable fishing and land use practices. Tanzania. Global Marine Programme WWF International Avenue du Mont Blanc 1196 Gland Switzerland Tel: +41 22 364 9111 www. Financial literacy training will give community members the tools to identify their needs and increase their potential in terms of savings and possible personal investments. Honiara. and offshore and ocean technology.524 households of Macuata Province.• Financial training In Fiji. • Helping with tertiary education The Meso-American Reef Education for Nature (EFN) programme recently provided scholarships for five Mexican and two Honduran young professionals to undertake postgraduate studies in the key fields of coral reef science.

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