Blue Ventures (BV), an award winning UK-based, not-for-profit organization, is offering volunteers the chance to participate in a new project established in South Western Madagascar.
BV has a young, exciting, qualified team of social entrepreneurs as directors who have coordinated successful marine projects in Madagascar, Tanzania, New Zealand, South Africa and the Comoros Islands over the past two and a half years. The new permanent research base will be opened in June 2003 in Andavadoaka, South Western Madagascar.
Using diverse research methodologies, BV volunteers will survey the area's unique coral reefs in order to gather the data needed to develop sustainable local environmental management plans for the reef systems.
Blue Ventures has recently teamed up with AMCA international (Access to Marine Conservation for All). AMCAís aims are to make marine conservation accessible to all persons regardless of physical ability to be able to participate in marine conservation. In addition, AMCA aims to make people aware of the direct/indirect economic, tourist and educational benefits of encouraging physically challenged and other identified groups to participate in Marine Conservation.
BV will continue its work with governmental institutions, local NGOs and local Malagasy in order to focus on improving the quality of life of the local communities who depend on these marine resources, while maintaining the biological diversity, sustainability and productivity of the reefs.
BVís teams will work in collaboration with The Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IHSM), Madagascar's marine institute, which is involved in several marine-based projects around Madagascar. Local scientific personnel will be heavily involved in the project, making up at least one third of the research team at any one time. BV will also be working closely with the Office Nationale pour l'Environment (ONE), the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the National Association for the Management of Protected Areas (ANGAP), all of which are based in the capital Antananarivo.
Surveys will use quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, as well as remote sensing, GIS mapping and environmental modeling techniques. The studies carried out will aim to provide the IHSM with the data needed for the establishment of a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.
In the long-term, the BV project will also provide the necessary logistical infrastructure for much-needed additional research to be carried out by local and international scientific personnel.
Furthermore, BVís work with local businesses, schools, NGOs, and governmental organizations such as the IHSM, aims to develop skilled coastal management practitioners in the area who will be able to catalyze, lead and manage the future sustainability of the project. BV estimates that this on-going project will be completely managed by Malagasy staff within three years.
Considering current potential threats to this ecosystem, and as a priority within the framework of the National Strategy for Conservation of Biodiversity in Madagascar, it is now critical that data is gathered as a matter of extreme urgency, for use in local environmental management plans.
The BV project will therefore not only fall within this framework, but will also fulfil one of the priorities of the International Coral Reef Initiative (UNEP & IUCN), which is to improve the amount and availability of data on coral reefs in the West Indian Ocean.
So join now and become part of something unique. For more information, including how to volunteer, look at www.blueventures.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Blue ventures 2003
Reproduced with permission.