1 Tahrcountry Musings: Madagascar community leader gets Paul Getty conservation award

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Madagascar community leader gets Paul Getty conservation award

Here is something that is sure to fire your enthusiasm about nature conservation. You need not have degrees in conservation to espouse the cause of nature conservation. Ordinary folks can very well do it. What is needed is will and commitment. The prestigious Paul Getty award for 2008 has gone to dedicated Madagascar community leader Roger Samba, with no formal training in conservation. The award honours outstanding contributions to international conservation and carries a $200,000 prize. The award recognizes today's leaders in conservation and also helps develop conservation leadership for tomorrow by establishing graduate fellowships in the name of the winner and J. Paul Getty. Samba was responsible for organizing the world's first community run no-take zone for octopus, a local species of critical economic importance to the community.
For generations, the indigenous semi-nomadic Vezo people of Andavadoaka, Madagascar (Samba's hometown) have depended on artisanal fishing activities for their livelihoods. Their culture and tradition was intimately interwoven with it. In recent years unsustainable tourism and an increase in international fishing vessels and burgeoning population was creating a resource crunch.
Samba created a plan for empowering local communities to take up management of coral reefs and the region's fragile marine biodiversity. Alternative livelihood and environmental education initiatives were simultaneously launched. The project was so successful that eight neighbouring villages formed their own protected areas for octopus in order to reap similar benefits. Here is a shining example of how economic development can inspire and benefit from the conservation of natural resources.
Samba will use his award to establish fellowships for students pursuing masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral degrees in conservation-related fields at a university of his choice in Madagascar.
Well done Samba. You are indeed a shining example for the whole world.

1 comment:

Anand Sharma said...

Really inspiring piece of information