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Seychelles – Fisheries Management


Making Use of Acoustic Telemetry to Improve Management of Spawning Aggregation Fishery in the Seychelles

Location
Praslin Island, Seychelles

Large migratory fish such as Tuna are unlikely to be protected by an MPA.

Large migratory fish such as Tuna are unlikely to be protected by an MPA.

The Challenge
Understanding the behavior of threatened species can increase the effectiveness of conservation efforts and reduce the cost of intervention. The use of marine protected areas (MPAs) is being promoted as one of the tools for the conservation of marine species. However, the effectiveness of MPAs is dependent on their ability to protect target species. Site-attached species with small home ranges are more likely to benefit from small MPAs than more mobile species with large home ranges. Many reef fishes with small home ranges are known to migrate long distances, during specific times of the year, and form large transient spawning aggregations that can last for several days. These migrations can take them outside the boundaries of MPAs where they are unprotected. In such circumstances these species need to be managed using a range of management options which can offer them a certain degree of protection while participating in spawning aggregations.

One of the rabbit fishes, the Shoemaker spinefoot (Siganus sutor) is a coral reef-associated herbivorous species that is known to form large transient spawning aggregations. The species is endemic to the Western Indian Ocean and is a commercially important target species in much of the region, often constituting more than 40% of inshore reef fishery catch by weight. In the Seychelles islands, Shoemaker spinefoots form monthly spawning aggregations at multiple sites around the time of the full moon between September and June. The locations and timing of these aggregations are known by the local fishers and a fishery has developed that specifically targets them. During these periods, catch per unit of effort increases and large quantities of spawning fishes are caught, sometimes even before they have had a chance to reproduce. This situation raises serious concerns regarding the health of the stock and undermines the effectiveness of nearby MPAs in protecting this species.

Implantation of acoustic transmitters in Shoemaker spinefoot. © Jude Bijoux

Implantation of acoustic transmitters in Shoemaker spinefoot. © Jude Bijoux

Actions Taken
To come up with management options to better protect spawning aggregations of Shoemaker spinefoots, a joint study was undertaken by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and the Praslin Fishers Association (PFA). The aim of the study was to use acoustic telemetry to collect behavioral information on fish attending spawning aggregations that could be used to guide conservation efforts and to raise awareness of the local communities on the need for sustainable exploitation of spawning aggregations.The study set out to (1) characterize the residency time of Shoemaker spinefoots at known spawning aggregation sites, (2) describe the lunar and diel pattern of arrival and departure at the sites, and (3) determine fidelity to specific spawning sites. Once the degree of site fidelity to specific spawning aggregation sites was determined, the study investigated whether the selection of spawning aggregation sites was innate or socially mediated through translocation of acoustically tagged fish between two sites. Monitoring of acoustic signals coming from the tagged fish was undertaken at the two study sites as well as at three other spawning aggregation sites in the area using an array of acoustic receivers. When a transmitter came within range of an acoustic receiver, the tag ID date and time was automatically recorded. From the logs researchers were able to reconstruct fish behavior, such as residence time, fidelity, and time of arrival and departure. A secondary aim of the study was to promote collaboration among staff of the SFA and members of PFA.

How successful has it been?
The study was highly successful as it was able to reduce conflict between marine scientists from SFA and fishers from the island of Praslin. Collaboration between researchers and fishermen allowed experiences to be shared, and built up camaraderie. The acoustic telemetry study was able to accurately determine the lunar and diel timing of arrival and departure of aggregating fish at the spawning site, as well as documented spawning site fidelity and residence time. Unexpectedly, the study showed that there was a constant turn-over of fish participating in the spawning aggregation and that the amount of fish participating was much higher than was previously believed. The translocation study found that translocated fish display a wide range of behaviors, which included: 1) homing back to their original spawning site, 2) adopting the site where they were translocated, and 3) confusion, which caused them to wander between sites. From an awareness point of view, the study focused the attention of the public, especially the fishers on Praslin, on the plight of rabbit fish spawning aggregation sites and the threat that overfishing may pose. As a result, there was strong support from the Praslin fishing community during the drafting of the demersal fisheries management plan to limit the number of fish traps used during spawning aggregation periods.

Lessons Learned and Recommendations
Lessons learned and key recommendations include:

Social and governance issues:

  • It is important to have jointly implemented activities between fishers and fisheries management organizations. These activities create the space for people from both sides to meet, discuss issues and share experiences.
  • Once these working relationships between fishers and staff of fisheries management organizations have been created, it is important to keep them going through continuous involvement in new projects and initiatives.
  • The project was jointly implemented by SFA and PFA, and both partners actively participated in the project from its inception in the identification of research questions, sources of funding and implementation modalities. Equal involvement of both partners ensured that the project ran smoothly.
  • Involvement of fishermen in research projects is a better tool for raising awareness compared to presenting them with the results at the end of the project.
  • Fishermen know a lot about the behavior of fish species but they also have some misconceptions. Collaboration between fishers and scientists is thus encouraged so that fisher knowledge can be shared with scientists and scientists can also explain scientific principles to fishers and clear any misconceptions.

Scientific issues:

  • Due to the high cost of acoustic transmitters (US $350) and receivers (US $1,300) not all known spawning aggregation sites in the study area could be instrumented and the number of fish that were acoustically tagged (39 at study No. 1 and 56 at study No. 2) were limited. In such circumstances where cost limits the sample size it is good to combine acoustic tagging with conventional tagging which is much cheaper and have the capacity to provide much needed additional data.
  • The range at which the acoustic transmitters can be detected by the receivers is affected by ambient noise and can skew the results. Sentinel tags placed high in the water column at specific locations should be used to allow detection patterns to be more easily interpreted alongside change in detection efficiency.
  • Only the spawning aggregation sites were monitored using acoustic receivers and as a result no data could be collected when fish were outside of the receivers array.
  • Shoemaker spinefoot spawning aggregations can last up to seven days with fish arriving at the site as early as three days before the full moon and departing as late as three days after the full moon. Temporal protection measures at the spawning sites should coincide with these seven days.
  • Most tagged fish arrive at the spawning aggregation sites at dawn and depart at dusk. It is believed that these fish were using the rising and setting of the sun as a means of navigation.
  • Spawning fish showed fidelity to groups of closely related sites, indicating that fidelity is to a particular region and not necessarily specific sites. It is thus recommended that these spawning aggregation sites are managed by area rather than as independent sites.

Funding Summary
This work was supported through grants from the Marine and Coastal Science for Management (MASMA) Programme (Grant No. MASMA/OR/2008/06) of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grant Program (SGP) to the Praslin Fishers Association (PFA) (Grant No. SEY/SGP/OP4/Y3/RAF/2010/05). Financial and logistical support was also provided by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) through the European Union (EU) from the sectoral policy support funds of the EU/Seychelles Fisheries Protocols under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Lead Organizations
Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA)
Praslin Fishers Association (PFA)

Partners
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
GoS-UNDP-GEF Mainstreaming Biodiversity Project
Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)

Resources
Spawning aggregation dynamics of brown-marbled grouper and camouflage grouper at a remote Indian Ocean atoll (pdf)

Temporal dynamics, residency and site fidelity of spawning aggregations of a herbivorous tropical reef fish Siganus sutor

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Seychelles – Coral Restoration


Reef Rescuers: Coral Gardening as an MPA Management Tool

Location
Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles

A coral transplantation site at Cousin Island Special Reserve. © Reef Rescuers

A coral transplantation site at Cousin Island Special Reserve. © Reef Rescuers

The Challenge
In 1998, the mass coral bleaching event, caused by the coupling of El Nino and the Indian Ocean Dipole, severely affected the reefs of the Seychelles Archipelago. The 1998 bleaching catastrophe decreased live coral cover by up to 97% in some areas and caused many reefs around the islands to collapse into rubble (which later became covered with algae). In the following decades, coral recovery has been extremely slow in the inner granitic islands of Seychelles. Despite the existence of numerous no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPA) – an effective tool to bolster coral reef recovery – it has taken almost 20 years to see coral cover at pre-1998 levels in most areas in the region. Due to continuous global threats, such as changes in climate and ocean chemistry, MPAs alone may not be enough to assist in the recovery of coral reefs in the Seychelles. Consequently, more active conservation strategies are needed to promote reef recovery and build reef resilience and to achieve the long-term conservation of coral reef ecosystem services.

Cleaning the coral nursery. © Reef Rescuers

Cleaning the coral nursery. © Reef Rescuers

Actions Taken
The slow post-bleaching recovery motivated active restoration efforts in the inner islands of the Seychelles archipelago to assist in natural recovery. In 2010, Nature Seychelles launched the Reef Rescuers Project on Praslin Island. Financially supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), this climate adaptation coral restoration project seeks to repair coral bleaching damage in selected sites around Praslin and Cousin Island Special Reserve, a no-take marine reserve.

Through this project we are piloting the first-ever large scale active reef restoration project in the region using ‘coral gardening,’ a technique that involves collecting small pieces of healthy coral, raising them in underwater nurseries and then transplanting them to degraded sites that have been affected by coral bleaching. Forty thousand fragments of coral from 10 different branching/tabular species (Acropora hyacinthus, A. cytherea, A. abrotanoides, A. appressa, Pocillopora damicornis, P. grandis – senior synonym of P. eydouxi, P. meandrina, P. verrucosa, Stylophora pistillata, S. subseriata; species identification after Veron 2000 and nomenclature after the World Register of Marine Species) have been raised in 13 underwater nurseries located inside the Cousin Island Special Reserve. Between November 2011 and June 2014, a total of 24,431 nursery-grown coral colonies were transplanted to 5,225 m2 (0.52 ha) of degraded reef within the Cousin Island Special Reserve.

Coral colonies self-attaching. © Reef Rescuers

Coral colonies self-attaching. © Reef Rescuers

With the onset of a weak-to-moderately strong El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event starting late summer to early fall 2014 and continuing through 2016, we had a unique opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the choice of coral reef species (initially chosen based on survival rates during the last seawater warming anomaly) and the restoration process itself in alleviating the impact of warmer ocean temperatures. We are using standardized protocols to monitor the survival, reproduction, recruitment and bleaching response of donor and transplanted colonies. We continue monitoring at the transplantation site and two control sites, representing a healthy and degraded coral reef. Such monitoring allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration effort. Additionally, we are assessing the costs of large-scale reef restoration via coral gardening and the life cycle of coral reef restoration technology.

Transporting coral fragments. © Reef Rescuers

Transporting coral fragments. © Reef Rescuers

How successful has it been?
The long-term “success” of this mass transplantation is still being monitored but the project has already had positive outcomes. Forty-one practitioners from 11 countries have been exposed to reef restoration techniques by “on the job” work as volunteers up to three months on site, and eight experts have to date been formally trained through a full-time six-week classroom and field based training program. Before-and-after comparisons in coral cover at the transplanted site showed that the restoration project resulted in a 700% increase in coral cover, from about 2% in 2012 to 16% by the end of 2014. Similarly, we have documented a five-fold increase in fish species richness, a three-fold increase in fish density, and a two-fold increase in coral settlement and recruitment at the transplanted site. We also found that our coral transplants responded better to stressful conditions resulting from increased sea temperatures and a harmful algal bloom. The transplanted corals appear to recover faster and better than corals at other sites. The response of the transplanted reef to thermal stress bleaching is still being monitored. The preliminary analysis of the costs of reef restoration via coral gardening and the life cycle of coral reef restoration technology together with the ecological results so far support the application of large-scale, science-based coral reef restoration projects with long timescales to assist the recovery of damaged reefs. A proposal to scale up the coral farms to a mariculture venture so as to reduce costs through economies of scale has been accepted by the Seychelles government and funding is currently being sought.

Lessons Learned and Recommendations
A tool kit is currently being put together to highlight the lessons learned from the project. In summary, we have learned that:

  • Survival of coral donor colonies is high.
  • Survival of nursery colonies is high for the selected species listed above.
  • There is a natural supply of corals (corals of opportunity) to be grown in the nurseries and that eliminate the need to re-fragment nursery-grown or donor colonies.
  • Nurseries become floating reef ecosystems.
  • Natural cleaning of coral nurseries and coral ropes reduces nursery maintenance and increases transplantation success.
  • There is a positive transplantation effect on settlement and recruitment of new corals, fish diversity and density.
  • The response of transplanted corals to bleaching causative events needs close monitoring to assess the effects of coral gardening on building bleaching resistance.
  • There is citizen science interest internationally in receiving training on coral reef restoration.
  • Partnerships with the tourism sector can be developed to establish coral gardens (seascaping) as a guest attraction and as a key part of the industry’s environmental management programs and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • Large-scale coral reef restoration needs to be considered as a cost-effective tool to include in the MPA manager’s toolbox.

Funding Summary
Until 2015, funds to support the Reef Rescuers Project have been sourced and provided by USAID. Further financial support was received under the Government of Seychelles-Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Project (UNDP) Protected Area Project in 2011.

Lead Organizations
Nature Seychelles

Partners
Global Environment Facilitaty (GEF)
USAID

Resources
About the Reef Rescuers project

Transplanted corals attach themselves in pioneering reef restoration project in the Seychelles

Reef Rescuers on CNN Inside Africa

US Oceans Envoy praises Nature Seychelles’ work

Saving the giant clams

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Belize – Community Engagement


Freshwater Cup Soccer and Environmental Competition Builds Reef Stewardship in Belize

Location
Toledo District, Belize

In the heart of the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) is working with communities to promote sustainable use and management of the area’s rich resources, from the peaks of the highest forest ridges to the coral reefs of the ocean floor. © TIDE

In the heart of the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) is working with communities to promote sustainable use and management of the area’s rich resources, from the peaks of the highest forest ridges to the coral reefs of the ocean floor. © TIDE

The Challenge
Belize is well known for its incredible biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In the Toledo District in southern Belize, the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor is home to many species including iguanas, ocelots, jaguars, and over 500 species of birds as well as coastal ecosystems with mangrove fringed cayes, soft-bottom seagrass beds, and fringing reefs.

This area currently has a low but rapidly growing human population. Watersheds are still relatively pristine and water quality is high but land-based pollution is increasing. The main sources are agricultural runoff, soil erosion due to clearance of riverside forests, detergents from clothes washing in rivers and plastic trash from littering or improper disposal of solid waste. Land-based pollution impacts marine ecosystems but people living far from the sea can often be unaware of the impacts they have on the reef. The local nongovernmental organization, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) is working on projects to protect water quality in southern Belize despite the growing population by enhancing stewardship of freshwater resources.

Local environmental stewardship can be one of the most important ingredients in conservation success. An innovative program in southern Belize is using sporting competition to engage local communities in environmental issues, building their awareness about climate change risks and the role they can play in helping coral reefs. © TIDE

Local environmental stewardship can be one of the most important ingredients in conservation success. An innovative program in southern Belize is using sporting competition to engage local communities in environmental issues, building their awareness about climate change risks and the role they can play in helping coral reefs. © TIDE

Actions Taken
Belizeans love football – playing it, watching it, talking about it. Local tournaments are some of the most popular social activities in the south and competitions with prizes always draw a crowd. Capitalizing on this passion, in 2004 TIDE set up the Freshwater Cup. This is a football tournament with a twist – in order to enter, each team must first plan and execute a project to protect freshwater resources. Typical projects include planting trees to protect riverbanks, removing trash from creeks, painting murals celebrating nature or installing signs with environmental messages.

Originally, the competition was exclusively for adults. A children’s competition was introduced in 2007 and in 2011, the adult competition was removed in order to accommodate more children’s teams. The competition is now for primary school children (male and female) aged twelve or under. Approximately 20 schools participate.

TIDE’s Approach Step by Step
1.  TIDE’s environmental education coordinator visits schools to present the competition, explain the rules, and encourage teams to enter.

2.  In a second visit, the education coordinator gives presentations on aquatic and marine ecosystems, land-sea interconnectivity and human impacts; facilitates a discussion on problems affecting local freshwater resources and encourages teams to suggest solutions; and uses examples of past projects to illustrate how to design a good project and encourages teams to seek input on the design from the wider community.

3.  Teams then plan projects tailored to their community’s needs and fill out a project plan form that includes a budget (typically less than US$250), funding plan and timetable for completion of activities.

4.  Teams register for the Freshwater Cup by submitting their completed project plan form, a list of team members and a team contract agreeing to abide by the rules of the game and the principle of fair play.

5.  TIDE staff members evaluate each project plan. Proposals are accepted or returned to the team for modification. A team whose proposal is returned must improve its project plan or withdraw its application.

6.  Once approved, teams have four months to complete their projects. In this time, they receive at least one visit from the education coordinator, who monitors progress and provides advice and encouragement. A small budget is made available to support the projects.

7.  By the deadline, each team must provide a project report. Teams unable to complete their project or provide a report must provide justification for an extension or be disqualified.

8.  TIDE personnel judge the projects according to pre-determined criteria. They read the project reports and visit the sites, where the children present their projects. The winners are announced at the football tournament finals (see below).

9.  The football component of the Freshwater Cup has two parts, a league stage and a knockout stage. First, male and female teams are divided into two leagues by geography (giving a total of four leagues). Over several weeks, each team plays the others in its league. TIDE provides the schools with equipment, arranges transportation for away teams, and organizes volunteer coaches and referees.

10.  The two teams earning the highest number of points in each league advance to the knockout tournament, which is held on one day toward the end of the school year. On the championship day, the semi-finals, third-place play-off and final are played before the prize-giving ceremony.

11.  First, second and third placed winners of the best environmental project and football tournaments (male and female) receive prizes consisting of school supplies, a trophy and a framed photograph of the team for the school, plus school supplies, school fees and winners medals for the individual team members.

How successful has it been?
The TIDE Freshwater Cup has been remarkably successful. It has mobilized schools and entire communities to develop greater awareness of and commitment to freshwater ecosystems.

Enhanced Environmental Stewardship

2014 marked another successful year for the Freshwater Cup environmental football tournament. More than 700 school children implemented 20 mini-projects to protect freshwater resources and the Belize Barrier Reef. © TIDE

2014 marked another successful year for the Freshwater Cup environmental football tournament. More than 700 school children implemented 20 mini-projects to protect freshwater resources and the Belize Barrier Reef. © TIDE

Through the mini-projects, many people have seized the opportunity to improve their local environment. “In many cases, the environmental projects transcend the football championship” (UNICEF 2009). For example, in 2007, the adult team from Bella Vista cleaned up an area at the edge of their village that had inadvertently become a garbage dump. They used a dump truck to remove the garbage to a nearby landfill. The following year, they took up the issue with the village council, constructed a new sanitary landfill and arranged regular waste collection for the village. Similarly, in 2008, the senior team in Jacintoville cleaned up a garbage dump and put up signage to discourage dumping. They formed an environmental club, which continues to organize regular village clean-ups.

In order to participate, the children must undertake an environmental project that is specific to protecting freshwater resources or reducing the effects of climate change on human populations. © TIDE

In order to participate, the children must undertake an environmental project that is specific to protecting freshwater resources or reducing the effects of climate change on human populations. © TIDE

The most popular projects have often been the ones that create green spaces in schools and communities. For example, in 2012 Bladen Primary School cleared trash from a local creek and created a pleasant riverside space with benches to enjoy nature. Other successful projects have included setting up organic vegetable gardens at schools, installing garbage bins by rivers and highways, tree planting and finding imaginative ways to recycle, such as building garbage bins and fences from used plastic bottles. There have been some bold education projects too. In 2013, the school team from San Marcos gave presentations to their parents, most of whom are farmers, to educate them on the harmful effects of pesticides and herbicides on aquatic life.

Players, classmates, and family members join in the environmental projects, thereby creating a domino effect of environmental awareness in the wider community. The reward that children get from successfully completing an environmental project (not just the competition prizes but also the appreciation and praise of their parents, teachers and peers) helps children to develop a sense of social responsibility and environmental stewardship. What is more, the TIDE Freshwater Cup is the first time that many of these children (and even teachers) are exposed to key environmental messages. Many had never heard of climate change, or were aware that the Belize Barrier Reef can be harmed by activities of people hundreds of miles inland. The majority of participating children seem to have internalized these ideas because school principals and teachers comment that since the Freshwater Cup, school compounds are much cleaner and they hear children telling others not to litter. TIDE provides the opportunity for these children to carry enhanced stewardship into their adult lives.

Other Social Benefits

The tournament not only teaches the children and their communities about the environment, but it also fosters teamwork, empowering the children by making them realize what can be achieved through working together. © TIDE

Being part of a team that comes up with a shared vision for a project and successfully realizes it is tremendously rewarding for the children. It fosters teamwork and empowers kids by making them realize what can be accomplished when they work together. The sports component has given thousands of girls, boys, women and men the opportunity to participate in a sports competition, helping to promote a healthy lifestyle, gender equality, teamwork, self-esteem and friendship between people of different ethnic and cultural groups. Three members of the current Belize national team played in the TIDE Freshwater Cup. “Given the shortage of leisure activities and the overall poverty of the local area, the programme also acts as a sound source of entertainment that contributes toward a healthy lifestyle for adolescents and children” (UNICEF 2009). The competition has proven so popular that is has become a household name in Toledo.

Next Steps
To increase the impact of environmental projects, TIDE plans to start encouraging schools to conduct multi-year projects, and will be assisting other organizations with replicating the program within Belize and internationally.

International Recognition
The TIDE Freshwater Cup has won several international awards for innovation in sustainable development, namely: the CEPAL Social Innovation Award in 2008 (from among over 800 entries), the Green Apple Award in 2010, and the International Olympic Committee’s Award for Sport and Sustainable Development in 2012.

Lessons Learned and Recommendations
Prioritize schoolchildren: Originally, the TIDE Freshwater Cup only involved adult teams but we have gradually shifted to only involving schoolchildren. This is because children are generally more receptive to learning and behavior change than adults and working with schools brings advantages in terms of organization. Teachers ensure projects are completed on time and teams consistently show up for games. Lastly, family and friends almost always get involved in the children’s projects, leading to more widespread awareness in the community.

Projects that have been undertaken have included starting recycling programs, creating green spaces in schools and communities and planting trees. Other activities have involved being engaged in clean-ups of rivers and streams, creating eco-parks and environmental clubs and the management of solid waste. © TIDE

Projects that have been undertaken have included starting recycling programs, creating green spaces in schools and communities and planting trees. Other activities have involved being engaged in clean-ups of rivers and streams, creating eco-parks and environmental clubs and the management of solid waste. © TIDE

Support teams to improve their environmental projects: Teachers and students sometimes enter the program with a low level of awareness and do not know what effective steps they can take to protect freshwater ecosystems. Teachers also have many demands on their time and leading a project can easily slip to the bottom of the pile. TIDE overcomes this lack of capacity by providing guidance and encouragement at key junctures, such as:

  • Meeting with school principals to gain their support
  • Hosting classroom lessons on human impacts on freshwater ecosystems
  • Facilitating project inception meetings with teams
  • Visiting projects and calling team leaders to check on progress
  • Providing a clear set of criteria for judging projects
  • Publicly rewarding and recognizing good performance, not just with prizes, but with praise and certificates of appreciation

All this takes a lot of time and effort – we estimate at least one hour per team per week for the four-month duration of the projects – but it is worth it because you will be leveraging orders of magnitude more time and effort and building capacity for environmental stewardship at the same time.

Children can be effective agents of change but they must be enabled: Children and adolescents are open to new ways of thinking and can challenge older generations to do more about the world’s problems. They can be influential environmental advocates, as recognised by UNICEF (2009), who have sponsored the program for a total of three years. “There is no doubt that respect for children and adolescents as subjects with full rights provides enormous benefits for society as a whole. This process… includes involvement and respect for young people as prime movers in environmental protection and the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters” (UNICEF 2009). For this to happen, children must be enabled to come up with their own ideas and have their say. Unfortunately, busy teachers sometimes find it easier to write projects themselves without consulting the children. Do your best to encourage teachers to include the children in the project design as this will maximize the personal growth of environmental stewardship from within.

Encourage teams to include other stakeholders: The most successful projects often enlist the support of multiple stakeholders, such as village councils and community groups. Obtaining input from these stakeholders during project planning will help garner their support. Local businesses may be keen to be associated with a popular community environmental and sports event. Your organization and the participating teams may be able to capitalize on this to get sponsorship for team kits, equipment, transportation and prizes.

Use the games for environmental awareness: Once the environmental projects are done and the soccer competition is underway, it can be easy for some to forget stewardship of freshwater resources. There are several things you can do to ensure the environmental focus is not lost. Have the teams present their projects at the games – enthusiastic teams will give performances every bit as entertaining as the match! Insist that each team displays a banner illustrating their name and project. Get volunteers to talk to people in the crowd about ways they can protect downstream environments. And, if you can, get a PA system and have an MC commentate on the games and remind everyone of your environmental messages. Use the event to draw media attention and get your message out to a much wider audience.

Hold a debriefing: A focus group meeting to evaluate the program will provide useful feedback to continually improve.

Make the most of volunteers: Use local and international volunteers. Try to establish a committed set of long-term volunteers (e.g. referees, coaches, project leaders). Build their capacity through training and give them incentives to show they are appreciated.

Make the competition prestigious: Use official FIFA rules and, if possible, invest in kits, boots, trophies, official size and weight balls, pitch improvements, trained referees, floodlights, a PA system, video projection and other frills. These will give the event a degree of cachet and boost eagerness to participate.

Lead Organizations
Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE)

Partners
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Australian Caribbean Coral Reef Collaboration (AusAID)

Resources
Freshwater Cup Environmental Football League

This case study was adapted from: Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) 2015. Reef stewardship in Belize: TIDE Freshwater Cup soccer and environmental competition. A case study developed for the Australian Caribbean Coral Reef Collaboration.

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