Empowering communities for conservation
Voting has opened (ends at midnight GMT on 12th November 2010) for the World Challenge 2010 Award - an international competition organised by BBC World News and Newsweek magazine to champion projects showing enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level.
Blue Ventures is one of this year’s12 finalists, selected from over 800 nominations worldwide for its work in using social enterprise to drive sustainable community-based conservation initiatives.
Managing Director of Blue Ventures is Swansea University alumnus Richard Nimmo. Richard graduated with a BA History in 1992 and worked in sales and marketing for commercial television and radio before joining Blue Ventures in 2004 as a volunteer for an expedition in Madagascar.
In Madagascar, Blue Ventures' highly acclaimed conservation programmes work with some of the world’s poorest coastal communities to develop conservation and alternative income initiatives to protect biodiversity and coastal livelihoods.
“These initiatives give local people a chance to determine their own future" said Gildas Andriamalala, Blue Ventures' outreach officer in southern Madagascar. "Our work is helping indigenous communities in some of the country’s most deprived areas deal with the challenges of dwindling marine resources.”
Blue Ventures’ strategy focuses on empowering coastal communities to manage their own resources by developing marine protection initiatives designed to sustain local fisheries and safeguard marine biodiversity. These initiatives have guided fisheries policy and legislation, and been replicated by dozens of villages, NGOs, and government agencies across hundreds of kilometres of coastline.
Recent successes include the creation of Velondriake, the largest community-managed marine reserve in the Indian Ocean. Blue Ventures is now focusing on scaling-up community-based conservation activities at national and international levels across the Indian Ocean region.
Blue Ventures generates much of its conservation funding independently, through volunteer expedition programmes. These programmes support a team of over 50 full time conservationists and staff worldwide. These conservationists are now among the leading authorities for community-based marine and coastal conservation in Madagascar and the western Indian Ocean region.
"All too often, marine conservation efforts fail because of market economics: the costs of action far outweigh the perceived benefits of inaction." said Dr. Garth Cripps, senior conservation scientist with Blue Ventures in Antananarivo. "Blue Ventures’ conservation strategy is simple. We focus on innovating scalable economic incentives for marine conservation."
The winner of World Challenge 2010 will receive a US$20,000 grant from Shell to invest in their work. Two runners-up will each receive US$10,000. Voting ends at midnight (GMT) on 12th November 2010 and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in The Hague in December.
For more information about BBC World Challenge, visit: www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/ or to vote visit: www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/2010-finalists-project09.php
For more information about Blue Ventures, visit: www.blueventures.org