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Blue Ventures is launching a community expedition in Belize starting in June 2014!
Join one of these new 2 or 4 week expeditions and contribute to our community development projects. Join our expeditions team at our beautiful site in the coastal village of Sarteneja in order to:
• Collaborate with community groups to develop projects and provide training
• Work with local schools as part of Blue Ventures educational activities and assist in adult learning programmes
• Assist directly with lionfish market development through public events such as workshops and festivals
• Immerse yourself in the diverse culture of northern Belize and learn Spanish with your homestay family
Community development projects, outreach and education are key elements of Blue Ventures' work in Belize. The Belize community expeditions allow volunteers to join our team and contribute to our efforts to provide education and training to support the development of alternative livelihood projects.
The community expedition is led by our Community Officer, Silvia Parmeggiani. The projects that you will work on include:
Training and technical support for partner organisations
Blue Ventures works with three community partners; the Sarteneja Fishermen Association, the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development and the Sarteneja Homestay Group. Our support for these organisations includes English language, management, administration, IT, marketing and accounting skills with the groups' members.
Training and skills development for school children and young adults
A key aim of our work with the communities of northern Belize is to assist in the development of young people's leadership and critical thinking skills, which will allow them to play an active role in marine conservation in the future. All of our educational work enhances group working skills, critical thinking and public speaking, encouraging children to develop and discuss their own ideas.
Supporting alternative livelihood programmes.
One of our main interests is to support alternative livelihood programs, as the village of Sarteneja has identified a need for job diversification. This is due to the decline of traditional fisheries as fishing pressure increases on the main target species of conch and lobster. The Sarteneja Homestay Group and Tour Guides Association are two of the local initiatives that have been established to offer alternative livelihoods. Blue Ventures works with both organisations.
Invasive Lionfish: Campaigning for Change
The Belize Lionfish Management Plan has identified the need to establish a local and international market for lionfish and identifies this aim as the most likely means of controlling invasive lionfish populations. Working with fishers and exporters to market the product and promoting lionfish consumption not only helps removal efforts, but also provides an alternative fishery, alleviating pressures of overexploitation of native fish stocks and providing additional revenue for fishers. As part of our lionfish invasive species work, Blue Ventures holds information events around the country, with lionfish education booths, lionfish preparation demonstrations and lionfish handling workshops.
At these events, Blue Ventures’ staff and volunteers work alongside local restaurants and artisans to raise awareness of the lionfish threat and the potential of the species as an alternative target species. We also sell and promote lionfish products such as jewellery made from lionfish spines. In the month of June Blue Ventures supports the annual lionfish tournament held in Placencia, southern Belize and Belize Community Expedition volunteers will join our team at the event.
Itinerary for Expedition 1 and 2
We are running two pilot expeditions (1 and 2) in the coming months and the activities you should expect to be involved in are listed in the schedule below. The main difference to be aware of is that during Expedition 1, volunteers will be involved in the organisation and implementation of the Placencia lionfish tournament, held every year during the Placencia LobsterFest (27-29 June 2014).
The aim of the tournament is to promote lionfish as an alternative target species during the annual celebration of the re-opening of the lobster season and also provides a population control mechanism within local marine protected areas, where traditional fishing is restricted. Placencia, one of Belize’s primary tourist hubs, is a popular diving destination and has a fishing community where the local cooperative is working with Blue Ventures to establish sustainable fishing practices and develop lionfish as a target species for local and international consumption. Volunteers will assist in the outreach activities at Blue Ventures' lionfish information booth, help at the tournament receiving station, collecting culling effort data (weight, length, sex and stomach contents) and at the same time have the opportunity to attend one of Belize's biggest festivals.
|Expedition 1||Expedition 2||Activities|
|3 - 9 June||12 - 18 July||
|10 - 23 June||19 July - 8 Aug||
|24 - 30 June||NA||
Dates and costs
Belize Community Expedition 1 (4 weeks) - £1,200 from 3 - 30 June 2014
Belize Community Expedition 2 (2 weeks) - £600 from 12 - 26 July 2014
Belize Community Expedition 2 (4 weeks) - £1,100 from 12 July - 8 Aug 2014
Included in the cost:
- Accommodation for the duration of your stay in a Belizean family home (Homestay) whilst in Sarteneja
- Accommodation for the duration of your stay in a hostel whilst in Placencia, if applicable
- Three meals per day including drinks whilst in Sarteneja - all meals are prepared by your Homestay family
- Three meals per day not including drinks whilst in Placencia at local restaurant or homestay association provider
- Project training with our team
- Comprehensive logistical support and pastoral care from team of permanent staff
- Health and safety briefings from our expedition team
Not included in the cost:
- International flights (the nearest international airports are Belize City and Cancun in Mexico)
- Domestic travel to San Pedro; there is a regular water taxi from Belize City
- Entry visa for Belize
- Malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations
- Travel insurance
- Spending money for drinks, snacks and souvenirs
- Hotel accommodation before or after your expedition dates
September, 2013: First shark data sent by smartphone by Fran Humber is featured on the Save our Seas Foundation's blog.
October, 2013: Business + Conservation + Communities: The Rise of Community Focused Marine Tourism in the WIO by Taylor Mayol is featured in Wiomsa Magazine.
November 21, 2013: PHE Mythbusting at the International Conference on Family Planning by Roger-Mark De Souza is featured in the New Security Beat blog.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013: Population-Environment Program Wins Recognition: Blue Ventures Honored at International Conference on Family Planning By Schuyler Null
Nov 12th, 2013: Family Planning in Madagascar: lessons from a conservation NGO is published in the Guardian.
June 13th, 2013: Farming Sea Cucumbers in Madagascar for Economic Hope and Conservation is featured in the National Geographic.