Throughout March and April Prof. Stella Williams and members of the Mundus maris team in the Lagos area have been tirelessly promoting key messages of ocean protection with a particular emphasis on women and ocean in preparation of World Oceans Day celebrations. They made altogether three visits to the University of Lagos, notably to Prof Oyibo, the Director of Center for Research and Innovation, and to the Head of Department, Marine Sciences.

Durodoluwa Femi-Ajala, a law student at UNILAG particularly interested in environment protection, signalled willingness to collaborate on the cause. As a result of the conversations, Prof Oyibo and Brakemi Egbedi have made it clear that UNILAG is willing to host the Mundus maris event for the World Ocean Day celebration this year.

Stella also visited Yaba College of Technology twice in preparation of World Oceans Day in order to familiarise staff with Mundus maris activities and programmes, notably the youth contest. We were in constant touch with Mrs Afolabi, a staff of the Environmental Biology Department of the institution, and happy to learn that several students decided to participate.

World Oceans Day preparations were not confined to academia. End of April, we made an exploratory visit to Makoko, a community penned to showcase the UN theme for this year "Gender and ocean" as it is known for vibrant fisheries activities as well as a market place for farmed and wild-captured catfish and other species. We wanted to find out whether our intended work could make a valuable contribution and therefore to familiarise with some people there.

We found the island of Makoko to be very appropriate for our activities as there are many women involved with fisheries activities. We were able to make friends with a canoe paddler who has promised to be our door opener into the community. His services will indeed be needed as this is the only means of transportation into the community. We were also able to make friends with some women in the community so going back is now expected.

Our various activities this season are focused on improving participation of youths and women to spice up the WOD theme for the year from our own end in the Lagos area.

Text and pictures by Tomi Solanke..