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Workshop at the FAO in Rome

Upon the invitation of the FAO and its EAF Nansen Project, a workshop was convened in FAO HQ in Rome on 2 April 2012 to assess the state of play of the pilot activities to be implemented by Mundus maris in order to promote the ecosystem approach to fisheries in participating primary and secondary schools in Senegal and Gambia.

The workshop started with an overview presentation of Dr. Kwame Koranteng, EAF Nansen Project Coordinator, who updated participants on the objectives and achievements of the Nansen Project and highlighted in particular how the ecosystem approach to fisheries has grown from a more ecologically oriented concept into a holistic approach to fisheries management. EAF in short strives to integrate marine ecosystem understanding with social, economic and governance dimensions of human interaction with ecosystems. An FAO publication provided an excellent overview of different aspects of the concept and experiences with its implementation. Click here to get your copy.

Riccardo Del Castello is a communication specialist in the Research and Extension Branch (OEKR) of the FAO and in charge of overseeing the implementation steps of Mundus maris, particularly in relation to developing and testing a communication strategy and teaching aids. Riccardo recalled the terms of the letter of agreement (LoA) and summarised the framework within which the collaboration takes place.

Cornelia E Nauen was then invited to present the work carried out so far in implementing the LoA, which had entered into force on 21 July 2011.

Upon the start of the LoA research assistants and resource persons (school inspectors or headmasters of schools) were hired by Aliou Sall, the local coordinator of the pilot activities, in order to proceed without delay with a information and communication needs survey among schools in coastal and fishing villages in Senegal and Gambia as already outlined in the previous pages. Support for teachers on content, methodologies and visual teaching aids was a recurrent need identified. Blending of modern and traditional approaches to teaching taking into account the local culture appear most effective in meeting the identified needs.

Out of 35 schools participating in the survey work of the needs assessment, nine accepted to get involved in the pilot activities of advising on teaching aids and testing them to learn some lessons as to what are the most useful and effective approaches to promote the ecosystem approach to fisheries.

The pilot activities happen at an opportune moment, when IUCN's PREE project is supporting education ministries in the seven countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone) at introducing environmental teaching into the ordinary curriculum. In this context, IUCN has developed the Knowledge Handbook on marine and coastal ecosystems in the region. The local partners of IUCN, e.g. in Senegal and Gambia, respectively UNI.V.ERE and Stay Green Foundation (SGF), collaborate also with Mundus maris in the FAO / EAF Nansen pilots.

The materials in the teaching kit prepared in response to the identified needswere introduced at the first teacher workshop in Senegal, 17-18 February 2012. The teachers seized the opportunity to share their appreciation about them and already shared some initial comments for improvements. A coordinator in each of the two towns in Senegal took it upon himself to make sure the teachers and schools continue exchanging during the implementation of the test phase. They have meanwhile suggested a number of specific teaching modules followed by theatre plays to take the message of EAF and particularly of not fishing babyfish beyond the school, making use of the fish ruler.

The participants dedicated the whole of the afternoon to discussing about how to benefit the forthcoming teacher training workshop in the Gambia and enriching the teaching kit accordingly. Five key messages of the EAF approach are considered central for educational messages and adaptable for primary and secondary school situations:

  • maintain ecosystem integrity (no fish is an island)
  • precautionary approach to fisheries and other use of marine and coastal ecosystems and respecting the rules
  • broad stakeholder participation
  • promoting sectoral integration and safeguarding livelihoods
  • investing in research and knowledge

The teaching kit should then contain:

  • guide for using the kit

materials, such as

  • soda can fish ruler poster
  • fishing down marine ecosystems poster
  • fish ruler
  • ecosystem poster
  • EAF Nansen poster and flyer
  • generic teaching materials
  • monitoring and evaluation sheets

reference materials

  • EAF Nansen leaflet
  • IUCN Knowledge handbook about marine and coastal ecosystems
  • Training manual of SGF
  • Putting into practice the ecosystem approach to fisheries by FAO.


The implementation schedule has been updated for the remaining period for the pilot activities. The expected outcome is a robust appreciation as to which approaches and tools worked best alone or in combination and what can be further improved so as to explore opportunities for wider deployment.