Time pass incredibly fast and we sadly came to the end of both workshops, first organized in Granja Lismar in Canal del Dique for the communities from the freshwater environment and the second one in Isla Fuerte for marine and coastal communities. Both of them went very well and we received many positive results and feedbacks from the side of communities. Furthermore, we managed to get new connections and created the networking between some stakeholders, institutes and interested researchers from Universities in Colombia. It was all about the mutual collaboration and communication. Members of communities were actively participating, sharing the ideas and suggestions as well as we were contributing with the knowledge, advices from the professional side. All the hard work from the past weeks and months were paid off. We are now at the point when we more or less concluded the titles of the project proposals and progressed on the objectives together with the communities. As for all the projects in general also those proposals need to be further professionally written and developed before going forward with the submission and application for the grants. In these upcoming weeks each of the interns, together with the support of two academics and professionals as well as with the help of the representants from the communities intend to work on the proposals of the individual project and get them ready for the next step which would be the submission. Fingers crossed for getting as many project as possible to be accepted for receiving the further funding.
© O Plato
I am personally supporting the project of conservation and recovery of the ecosystems of mangrove, seagrass and corals currently as a pilot participative investigation in Isla Fuerte, however, with the application to other marine communities. At the workshop I saw a huge interests from different individuals of the communities directly in this issue, heard many good ideas and interesting experiences which have motivated me to further support the the proposal and help the project to be successful. It is all possible if there are resources, however, most importantly the will, interest and dedication from the side of the communities. There are many successful stories but also those that faced the failure in the area of the conservation and restoration. What is important is to look at good and bad, take a lesson and imply the knowledge into the particular case. The success many times comes from a collaboration between communities, local universities and NGOs, and international ecologists-biologists. I hope we will continue in this way to reach our aims.
Sponges and seagrass © O Plato
At the workshops I also noticed the active participation from the side of women and I honestly have to say that I got inspired by their dedication. I think that it is absolutely amazing and natural to have women to be also working and bringing the money to their families and I know they can reach a lot when they put the right efforts into it. As an example, fisherwomen from Venezuela have been recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Association (AEPA Falcon), a non governmental environmental organization that is governed by the United Nations and were given the award for their work that means that their production and efforts are no longer solely relegated to men and shows that females are now being seen within this ancestral practice. Women play a crucial role in marine environments and fisheries economies, specifically in the small-scale and artisanal fisheries sector, though their contribution is still invisible and unacknowledged. Research demonstrates that involving more women in community conservation projects is key to their success.