INSPIRING FUTURE OCEAN GUARDIANS IN MOZAMBIQUE

MMF launches crowdfunding campaign to prevent local drownings and create a new generation of marine conservationists

 

The Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) has launched a new GoFundMe campaign for its flagship education programme, Ocean Guardians, which aims to inspire a new generation of marine conservationists in Mozambique. The initiative combines marine conservation education, life-saving swimming lessons and extra Saturday activities like beach cleanups and ocean safaris to teach young people how to live with and protect the ocean.

 

The project was developed to address the fact that 60% of Mozambicans live close to the ocean and most depend on it for their livelihoods yet many of them do not know how to swim.

 

MMF is working with the coastal communities that represent the biggest threat to marine life to help change their perception of the ocean as being only a source of income and food. Over half of Mozambique’s population is under 18 so MMF’s Ocean Guardians are the decision-makers of the future. Through these lessons, the charity hopes to inspire and empower young Mozambicans to love the ocean so they cherish the marine ecosystem and fully understand the importance of the sustainable use of its limited resources.

 

Not only does MMF want to inspire its young graduates to be able to conduct sustainable fishing practices but to inspire positive conservation action in all they do. The initiative – which is run by the community for the community – promotes a positive relationship with the ocean and increases awareness of the threats to Mozambique’s unique marine environment while, at the same time, reducing the number of drowning incidents.

 

In Mozambique, the ocean is usually seen as something dangerous to stay away from. By the end of the programme, these young people will have gone through extensive water safety and ocean swimming training and will even have gone on an “ocean safari” to snorkel with ocean giants such as whale sharks and manta rays. Inspired by this, many of the young Guardians have developed a strong love for the ocean. For example, one of the local instructors, Narciso Nhampossa, was not only one of the first to join the Ocean Guardians programme but is now one of the best surfers in Tofo Beach.

 

Since this project began in 2012…

  • Over 1,900 young Mozambicans have learned about marine conservation;
  • 430 have learned to swim
  • 7 local instructors have been trained
  • 7 representatives for Inhambane Province at National Swim Championships in 2017
  • 3 graduates have secured internships within ecotourism

 

Mariana Coelho, MMF’s Mozambique Country Director, said: “We need the public’s support so that we can create lasting, positive change through this project. We’re aiming to raise 10,000 USD to help us continue the momentum and successes of our Ocean Guardians campaign.”

 

To view or download the campaign video, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6137LCKNPxU. This video can be used and shared alongside any articles providing Marine Megafauna Foundation and Project Conservation are both credited.

 

For more information or to donate, please visit: www.gofundme.com/ocean-guardians.

 

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For more information, images or an interview with an MMF spokesperson or one of our Ocean Guardians, please contact:

Melissa Hobson

mel.hobson@marinemegafauna.org / media@marinemegafauna.org

+44 77 6371 7350 (WhatsApp)

 

About Marine Megafauna Foundation:

MMF’s vision is a world in which marine life and humans thrive together and we aspire to attain it by saving threatened marine life. Our target group is marine megafauna, which is vital to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. When we protect ocean giants, we also achieve an umbrella protection for a wide variety of marine species. Consequently, we target coastal communities that represent the biggest threat to these species and, as a result, to their own food security. Through our 4 pillars, we provide an integrated solution: by using our research findings to educate and inspire the masses, we gather the necessary tools to provide sustainable marine conservation strategies for communities and policy makers to bring about lasting positive change. Finally, by empowering, informing and giving a voice to local communities, we help to create a generation of Ocean Ambassadors and Guardians, who cherish and understand the marine ecosystem.

 

For further details, please see www.marinemegafauna.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For information about our local projects, you can also follow our Western Indian Ocean Facebook page.