Mundus maris continues its efforts to engage scientists, fisheries administrations and educators to strengthen synergies and interaction between "research institutions" and "educational institutions"


The Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (COMHAFAT - French acronym) was held from 26 to 28 September 2012 at the Hotel des Almadies in Dakar. This event was attended by delegates from the following countries: Morocco, Islamic Republic of Mauritania Cape Verde, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Sao Tome and principle, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Namibia. Mundus maris was invited and represented at this event by its local coordinator based in Dakar, Senegal.

Our contribution has been of great interest for our own international association and for the interlocutors from the continent and those present from Europe. Indeed, it was an opportunity for rich exchanges between different actors along the continuum "public-private", "NGO-public decision makers", but also an opportunity to establish contacts with other NGOs in the region.


Our contribution was to share some concrete results and achievements made by Mundus maris in the context of its programme towards schools in the field of environmental education since about four years. The main objective of this demonstration was to raise awareness of participants met in general, and scientists in particular, about the feasibility and the need for a real synergy between 'scientific research' and 'institutions of primary and secondary education". The aim here is primarily to promote a scientific culture from an early age for a collective awareness about the environmental theme in general and the marine ecosystems in particular.

So we shared with participants the results of pilot activities conducted under a letter of agreement with FAO-EAF Nansen to develop and test an educational pack to support the introduction of the ecosystem approach to fisheries. These activities took place between July 2011 and July 2012 in Gambia and Senegal.

The media used to illustrate the results were the Mundus maris flyer, the fish ruler and poster with the Senegambian ecosystem. The flyer has been widely shared, while the other two were demonstrated taking the time needed to make the point about working with FAO.


Dr. Taib Diouf, Head of WWF's Co-Management Programme, NGO representatives of Guinea, Dr. Hamady Diop, Head of Department Research and Information System of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), and Peter GM van der Heijden, Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisor, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen-UR, the Netherlands, have received fish rulers, which will help them in their own work. The people with whom we shared expressed much interest in the work conducted with the schools.

Some delegates, notably NGO representatives from Morocco, Guinea and Guinea Bissau following carefully our demonstration during the workshop, wanted to explore how to take advantage of this experience for the primary and secondary schools in their respective countries. Based on our own experience, testing activities are very useful to explore innovations and adaptations to an educational context and for content development. We encourage others to get involved in their respective national or regional contexts. Working in a network could then serve as effective sharing of experiences and continuous learning beneficial for all. We also find support for schools is most effective in the long term (beyond a one-off exercise) and especially when it is inserted into a sustainable institutional framework.