Indice articoli

by Mundus maris Club Senegal

All is well what ends well. This can certainly be said of the enduring efforts to produce teaching aids about the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF), which Mundus maris helped to develop together with teachers and school inspectors in Senegal and Gambia. This was part of pilot activities of the FAO's Nansen Project led by Dr. Kwame Koranteng.

A batch of the French versions of the teacher's guide and pupil's workbooks have been delivered through the FAO office in Dakar in March for distribution to promote the use of the approach in ordinary education and beyond. Mundus maris has accepted to help with the dissemination.

One of the first points of call was Mr. Malick Soumaré, Head of the Division "Private education" in the national Education Ministry, who has followed through the exercise from its beginnings of field research in 2011.

Because of the great potential of the approach and the interest in making it as widely available as possible, Mr. Soumaré wants collaboration with Mundus maris and other organisations working to promote greater environmental awareness as part of the school curricula in Senegal. He believes that the teaching kit is a valuable support for teachers.

Several chance meetings with other experts at the Ministry were helpful in drawing attention to the teaching kit and promoting its wider use. Dr. Mamadou Niane works at the ECOWAS Coastal and Marine Resources Management Centre located in the University of Ghana, Accra, and serves as technical expert for the Project "Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa" (MESA). He was very interested in the approach and the teaching kit as breaking down scientific and technical knowledge in easily understandable form for pupils and other non-specialists has been a long-term concern of his.

Likewise, Mr. Sylla, teacher in a school in the Département de Oussouye / Casamance, in Southern Senegal was excited to learn about the teachinig kit.

With limited numbers of the kit currently available, the main effort is, obviously directed at making it available to as many teachers as possible, particularly in coastal towns and villages, foremost those who have been involved in the early development stages of the material. Among these is also Doudou Ndiaye, Deputy Director of the Santa Yalla School in Rufisque, who engaged in follow-up even though his school was not formally part of the pilot activities.

Not by accident, Mundus maris is also bringing the kit to the attention of some leaders of fishing communities, starting with Hann just outside the capital Dakar.

During other field work last year about the fisherfolk's attitude on the attempts to reform the sector policy, many interviewees already had indicated interest in learning more about marine ecosystems and species they are less familiar with. In early May 2016, with the participation of partnering school directors, like Doudou Ndiaye and Magueth Diop, Director of the Khadim School in Hann, we visited the local committee of the National Collective of Artisanal Fishers (CNPS), where we met with two fishermen leaders: Ibrahima Niang, President of the landing site in Hann and heading the Resources Commission of the Local Artisanal Fisheries Committee (CLPA), and Mr. Malouma Niang, President of the CLPA Hann. They were actually quite interested in the teaching kit and also engaged other people in the conversation: namely Bina Diop, artist and theatre teacher specialising in working with children, Ibrahima Sall of the NGO "Hann Environment", Abdoulaye Fall and Moustapha Mbaye as members of the Mundus maris Club.

The image about the trophic network in particular generated many questions between the fishermen and also between them and the others. The responsible people of the CLPA concluded that it would be worthwhile to hold a workshop for fishers to explain the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. As Aliou Sall of Mundus maris started commenting the negative impacts of overfishing on the integrity of the entire ecosystem, several fishers made the connection with the spike of triggerfish species (Balistes) in the 1980s. They also noted that what they called a "clandestine" fish, which many fishers did not know at all, was making an important showing in landings in the last four months. The general feeling was that the topic would be ideally suited for the Forum planned as part of World Oceans Day celebrations in 2016.

Watch this space for more!