Project Updates: December 2007 Archives
The project that originally launched Seacology took place in Falealupo, Samoa and has remained a wonderful example of Seacology's win-win strategy. In the early 1990s the Samoan government told this remote village that if they did not build a better school, teachers would be removed and their children would not be educated. Having no other source of revenue, the villagers sold logging rights to their rainforests. Before this could happen, however, Seacology co-founder and chairman Paul Cox worked with the village chiefs and raised the funds for the school in exchange for a covenant protecting the 30,000 acre rainforest. The Falealupo Rainforest School was constructed, and since that time Seacology has had a close relationship with the village.
"Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, Seacology gets more output than any conservation group that I've seen. They're not giving money away, they're not making grants, they're making deals."
These signs act as an important reminder to the communities that the needed infrastructure we provide is not a handout; it is part of a trade-off in recognition of a commitment to conservation of their precious natural resources.
I thought I'd post photos of some of these signs.
The sign at left is on one of 11 schools in Madagascar's Mangoro region that received Seacology-funded repairs in exchange for community agreements to protect the last remaining habitat of the Mangoro Flying Fox. Due to hunting for bushmeat, uncontrolled fires and logging, just a few pockets of forest remain as roosts for these large bats.
Seacology is also funding repairs to local municipal offices, and an educational component, with a conservation art competition scheduled to begin in early 2008. The winning artists will be awarded by members of the Seacology 2008 expedition to Madagascar and South Africa. Information on this trip can be found here. Click here for more information regarding the Mangoro project.
In the last few weeks we have had quite a few updates from Seacology's field representatives and project contacts on islands throughout the world. Here are a couple of updates from projects in Indonesia and India.
In Indonesia, Seacology field representative Arnaz Mehta notes that Seacology's project in Waigeo, Raja Ampat, is moving along smoothly. In exchange for a nine village agreement to establish a 123,553-acre marine protected area within the Mayalibit Bay, Seacology is providing a series of infrastructure improvements including constructing public washrooms, walking paths, and solar cell electricity for lighting so that children can study in the evening.