Communities sharing what works: this concept underlies the whole philosophy of CTI’s work in the Coral Triangle and the Nuakata Iabam-Pahilele Community Managed Marine Area (NIPCMMA) in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea recently reinforced the effectiveness of this idea.
The NIPCMMA is more than a band of concerned citizens; local level government law passed in November 2011 gives genuine legal authority. Empowered to do their own biological monitoring, management, fundraising and reporting, community members from Nuakata and Iabam-Pahilele have been working with Conservation International to develop the NIPCMMA during the last four years. Now these communities are playing a role in helping do the same for nearby Wialoki, Netuli, and Panabala. Exchanges in May, July and September brought community members together to share their hands-on experience and advance their monitoring and management techniques.
Several of the Wialoki community members in the joint exercises were young people, which gave the trainings a new dynamic. Seeing themselves as trainers and leaders for future generations gave added meaning to the important work, according to the participants. Community concern and responsibility for the area means that motivation to keep the CMMA active is high. The trainings were not without time for fun, however. Feasts celebrating the monitoring and the participants’ work were held in each area and the hospitality shown by the hosts was greatly appreciated.
These trainings, done by Nuakata for Wialoki, Netuli, and Panabala are the first examples of communities teaching communities in Milne Bay. With interest increasing from other island groups throughout the province, the opportunities for communities to serve as teachers and ambassadors to their peers for effective community-based management can only grow.
Since 2007, Conservation International has been a partner of the CTI. Under the CTI, CI works in four of the six CT countries, as well providing cross-regional activities. CI builds the capacity of national, regional and local governments and communities to manage their marine resources, promoting ocean health, improving fisheries management and increasing food security for the 360 million people of the Coral Triangle.