Since 2003, the marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures has worked with coastal villages in the region of Andavadoaka, located along the southwest coast of Madagascar, to develop conservation plans aimed at protecting the natural resources local communities rely upon for survival.
Blue Ventures’ research and conservation programmes in the region have evolved through close collaboration with local villagers, incorporating their traditional knowledge and socio-economic needs into conservation management interventions. Such partnerships are essential to ensure the community support needed to achieve conservation success.
Environmental education, scientific training and capacity building also are key tools used by Blue Ventures to foster community support and cooperation. Over the past four years, Blue Ventures has launched a variety of educational programmes in the Andavadoaka region aimed not only at improving communities’ understanding of conservation issues, but also at empowering local communities by providing the skills they need to sustainably manage and protect their own natural resources.
While Blue Ventures has conducted its environmental education programmes in villages along the southwest coast of Madagascar, the lessons and skills taught have been transferred to other areas across the country and western Indian Ocean region – helping to foster national and regional conservation awareness and success – as local scholars, conservation practitioners and staff have moved outside the region and gone on to work with a variety of governmental and non-governmental organisations.
Blue Ventures’ environmental education programmes target the entire range of stakeholders and resource users in the Andavadoaka coastal region, including local fishers, community leaders, village elders, school children, commercial fisheries collection companies and women’s associations. By building conservation knowledge and skills at the local level, Blue Ventures is also helping increase Madagascar’s capacity at a national level for protecting its unique and threatened marine and coastal habitats. Blue Ventures shares its data, experiences and lessons learned with Malagasy institutions and government agencies to increase conservation success across the country.
This report provides an overview of the variety of educational and capacity building programmes that Blue Ventures has employed to develop the community support, understanding and skills needed to improve conservation of natural resources locally, regionally and across Madagascar. Greater detail and explanation of all Blue Ventures’ educational, reseach and capacity-building activities can be found on its website at www.blueventures.org.