MI expands African partnerships
By Susan Clarke
Special to the Gazette
A fisherman in Mozambique works on his nets.
Marine institute (MI) International will lead two community development projects in Malawi and Mozambique to help reduce poverty through education and training in the fishing industry.
International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll recently announced the projects as part of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) program which funds collaborations between Canadian universities and other higher education organizations in developing countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
In Malawi, fisheries supply about 75 percent of the nationís dietary animal protein and employ approximately 250,000 people in catching, processing and marketing. In the past decade, the total catch decreased from 70,000 tons a year to 45,000 tons largely because of over-exploitation of tilapia (chambo). The goal of the MIís Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security project in Malawi is to ensure environmental sustainability and its consequent positive impact on the population of Malawiís coastal communities through reduced post-harvest losses.
The project will expand the mandate and capacity of the Malawi College of Fisheries to deliver training in post-harvest processing and sustainable fishing practices. The $1.5 million project (CIDA contribution $1 million) will also raise awareness of sustainable management of aquatic resources among mid-level fisheries officers and community representatives.
Poverty reduction through fisheries is also the focus of MIís $600,000 Poverty Reduction Through Fisheries project (CIDA contribution $400,000) in Mozambique. The project will work with the Ministry of Fisheries to improve the institutional capacity of the National Institute for the Development of Small Scale Fisheries (IDPPE) in the country. The project aims to improve the livelihoods of fishers and fish processors, mainly women, in coastal communities by assisting IDPPE personnel develop and deliver community-based training programs that promote sustainable and safe fishing and processing.
Nina Goudie, MIís International Program Officer, said MI International is looking forward to working in Mozambique.
ďThis project is an excellent opportunity for MI to share its highly successful community based education model with the international community and to develop and share fisheries expertise between Mozambique and Canada.Ē
MI International has been the focal point for international programs and activities at MI for almost 20 years. MI students, graduates, faculty and staff have participated in more than 100 funded projects in over 35 countries. MI International director Bill Chislett said MI has been active in Sub Saharan Africa for ten years focusing strategically in the southeast in the broad living resources sector.
The projects in Mozambique and Malawi will concentrate efforts in coastal communities. ďBy working closely with local, regional and international agencies, MI International supports local communities in the development of the tools they need to address social and environmental concerns,Ē said Mr. Chislett.