Women and youth are the biggest beneficiaries of two multi-million projects launched in Kisite- Mpunguti Marine Reserve, Kwale County, on Thursday 11th 2021.
One of the projects dubbed ‘Improving Management Effectiveness of Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Conservation Area’ aims to enhance management effectiveness of the marine protected area and adjacent locally marine managed areas for sustainable biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development.
The project is financed by the European Union (EU) and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme to the tune of € 400,000 (four hundred thousand Euros) approximately Ksh 50 million.
The project is also jointly developed and implemented by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature- Kenya (WWF-Kenya) in partnership with the local communities and other relevant agencies.
The project focuses on the pristine Marine Park and Reserve and the surrounding Locally Managed Marine Areas. It is located in Kwale County on the southern part of Kenya’s coastline near the Tanzania border, off Shimoni and south of Wasini Island. It covers an area of 39 km² and comprises four small islands surrounded by coral-reef.
The second project which is to be financed to the tune of € 1 million (one million Euros) translating to about Ksh 130 million is one of the nine initiatives in Africa funded by the European Union under the EU – ECOFISH 11th EDF Indicative programme for the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region 2014 – 2020.
The three year project dubbed “The Small-Scale Fisheries for Sustainable Blue Growth, Improving Food Security and Livelihoods in Coastal Kenya and East Africa” targets small-scale marine fishery communities with concrete fisheries management and governance initiatives by assisting coastal communities to effectively manage small scale fishery resources, fostering innovation by taking a community based co-created approach to small-scale fisheries management.
Speaking during the launch of the project, European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue said “It is clear that Kenya sees potential for the Blue Economy, and it can set an example for other African states. Currently Kenya’s blue economy is estimated at USD 1.78 Billion and it could grow four times that if correct policies in fisheries as well as in sustainable maritime industry are put in place”
His sentiments were echoed by WWF-Kenya CEO, Mohamed Awer who said, “ we need to take advantage of the globalized seafood trade and sustainable Blue Economy opportunities to bring about significant flow of benefits to our economy and improve living standards of communities who depend on marine resources for their livelihoods.”
KWS Director General Brigadier John Waweru on his part noted that “the project will help meet the Kisite- Mpunguti Conservation Area Management plan objectives for the period 2016 – 2025 in line with the Transformation for Sustainable Ocean Economy, targeting to adopt and implement an effective sustainable Blue Economy for Kenya.”
In a speech by Cabinet Secretary, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Peter Munya read on his behalf by the Administration Secretary at the Ministry, Kassim Farah, Munya noted that “the Kenyan Government has already embarked on an ambitious journey of harnessing our maritime sector and resources within the context of ocean and blue economy.”
Munya in addition said that Kenya marine-based assets are under-exploited and have not adequately been harnessed. He further sited that Kenya’s marine fishery resources have the potential of 150,000 – 300, 000 tonnes annually, but we are only exploiting some 22,000 tonnes.
The intervention seeks to create jobs and enhance business run by women and youth in the coastal county.
Representing the Coastal Women Fisheries in Shimoni, Mercy Mghanga also noted that with the new opportunities at hand, it is time for women in the sector to fully benefit as they also contribute to the ocean economy.
The two projects are fully aligned with the government’s priorities and fisheries sector’s policy framework and seeks to contribute to the delivery of the Kenya Vision 2030 and Big 4 Agenda, notably Food and nutritional security and the sustainable blue economy strategy.
The project also has the potential to contribute significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local and regional and global scale.