Conserving coral reefs of the northern Querimbas archipelago with Kimwani people, Mozambique
The Kimwani people have always lived of their coastal resources in northern Mozambique. Soon after we discovered the natural wealth of the northern Querimbas archipelago after the 30-year war ended, we identified the area to be of global conservation value as coral reefs were amongst the most diverse and pristine in the region while showing resilience to bleaching. Our unrelenting efforts with local fisher communities and marine scientists led the recognition of our initiative by IUCN as one of the most successful community-managed protected area of Eastern Africa.
Our efforts were sustainable because we helped local communities, and especially women, to help themselves, improving their lives and breaking the poverty cycles in which they were trapped. By improving their health, providing access to education and water and developing alternative livelihoods, we discovered that focusing our efforts on local women made a real and positive difference.
The importance of our holistic community-led conservation model and its role in conserving coral reefs regionally and globally has been recognized through the recent declaration of the area as a Hope Spot for the planet. We have re-empowered local communities to manage their bio-cultural heritage and improved their wellbeing and health.