We are so excited to release this latest video documenting the role played by women in natural resource management and environmental decision-making as part of Wan Smolbag's Vanua'tai Resource Monitors Network. In Vanuatu, threats posed to biodiversity from population growth and overharvesting, climate change, and extractive economies of scale are compounding. For the people of these South Pacific islands, the loss of biodiversity impacts food security and well-being. Case studies from around the world reveal that empowering women leads to more effective and sustained biodiversity conservation. With principle funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and additional funding from Global Greengrants Fund and the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Island Reach has been collaborating with this indigenous environmental group to increase women's participation, build their capacity, and facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges. Increasingly, women are sharing stories and lessons learned with each other, becoming more knowledgeable about conservation efforts, encouraging each other in actions, and developing leadership skills that enable them to assist their communities to pursue sustainable conservation goals. Women's participation in the Vanua'tai network as environmental stewards and agents of change is inspirational. These women serve as a model for women in conservation and communities across the Pacific region and beyond.
Check out our job posting for a new Fellow for 2018! Opportunities with IR
Photos with our 2017 Fellow, Sam S.
We've just produced our 2017 Annual Report! Check it out:
2017 Annual Report
We've just uploaded a new video to Youtube and posted it on our videos page. The video was filmed on NW Malekula island and documents three villages coming together to launch the Napi Nata Lili Environment Network. Together, these communities have set aside vast areas of marine and coastal habitats as protected areas. Island Reach was honored to be part of this celebration and to document this ceremony. The video also features a short section of IR Project Coordinator, Willie Kenneth, introducing Reef Check survey methodologies to community members.
Today we finished packing up the gear donated to Island Reach by Aqualung USA: 46 wetsuits for the Vanua-tai monitors and over 120 youth snorkel kits we'll use for reef awareness activities. The 8 large boxes will travel by seafreight and we'll receive them in Port Vila in May.
Many, many thanks to Aqualung for this generous donation and for continuing to support our work in Vanuatu!
After COP21, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) referred to small island states like Vanuatu as situated at the frontlines of climate change, but also as places that are "innovative incubators ...showcasing solutions". The Vanua-tai Monitor Network is an excellent example of such innovation. An article by Janis about the Vanua-tai and the importance of biocultural diversity has been published in the March 2016 issue of the marine conservation and travel magazine, Seven Seas. You can read the article here.
IR Project Coordinator Ronneth John Accepted to Pacific Islands Community Conservation Training & Certification
Island Reach Project Coordinator Ronneth John has been accepted to attend a regional conservation training course on Community-based Conservation and Adaptive Management. Ronneth's acceptance is based on his long-time commitment to conservation and his proposal to work with IR to reach remote communities throughout Vanuatu were he can provide leadership and the transfer of skills and knowledge to these communities.
The aim of this 3 phase program is to build and improve the capacity of conservation practitioners, like Ronneth, to achieve widespread natural resource management and sustainable community livelihoods among Pacific Small Island Developing States. The course is a result of a collaboration of multiple agencies and organizations, including the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the University of the South Pacific, and with principal funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
The program will take Ronneth to Solomon Islands for a 4 week training in April, after which he'll join us aboard Llyr to implement his project work in central and northern Vanuatu for 4 months, and then he'll return to Honiara for a 3 week period of review, reflection, and reporting, as well as additional training.
Aqualung USA has generously expanded their support of Island Reach this season and they are sending us 43 adult wet suits along with gloves and boots for the Vanua-tai as well as over 100+ youth snorkel packs for reef education activities in remote villages! Thanks Aqualung, the historic Cousteau partner and "First to Dive"!
IR Project Coordinators Willy and Ronneth are busy in Vanuatu with coral gardening projects on Efate and writing a Community Conservation Management (CCA) Plan for Lelepa Island. Ronneth is also planning on heading to Buninga Island to support new Vanua-tai monitor and Area Secretary, Wilson Andrew. Buninga is now facing severe a severe water shortage due to the El Nino. Willie and Ronneth are also preparing materials for two major IR expeditions: one to Western Malekula in November where they will be following up on activities featured in the Trainers of Trainers video, including network building, CCA development at two sites, as well as turtle tagging with Vanua-tai Coordinator, Donald James. (In Vanuatu, Western Malekula is called “The Turtle Coast”.)
In January 2016 they'll head to the northern province of Torba and the Banks Islands where they meet Vanua-tai Alfonse and Sofie (also in the video) to begin building a Vanua-tai network and CCA system in that remote island cluster.
These expeditions are also advance preparations for these communities for IR's visits aboard RV Llyr during the 2016 expeditions.
IR is seeking funds to support Willy and Ronneth on expedition. Our costs include air and boat transport, and gear including a tent, headlamps and a decent waterproof point&shoot camera for field documentation. To lend a hand please make a targeted donation to Island Reach here to support these activities and expeditions.