Grants Awarded to Aid Coastal Communities in the Caribbean
Arlington, Va. –– Counterpart International has awarded four organizations with grants to support conservation and restoration of coastal resources and to promote sustainable natural resource management in the Caribbean.
The grants will help community organizations tackle serious environmental threats such as pollution, decreasing fish stocks, rising sea levels, coral bleaching and severe storm vulnerability. Nearly 50 organizations competed for the grants, which were made in partnership with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation of the Dominican Republic.
“These grants are designed to support sustainable livelihoods in coastal zones and are critical in identifying scalable and replicable models for the broader Caribbean,” says Christine Hicks, a technical specialist with Counterpart.“(They) are a critical tool in engaging and empowering communities to manage their natural resources in a sustainable and equitable way.”
Jamaica’s Orcabessa Foundation was awarded a grant to grow protected fragments of coral in underwater nurseries and transplant full-grown specimens back to natural reefs. The foundation will also work with community, fishermen and tourist industry stakeholders to identify low and zero-impact entrepreneurial opportunities in Orcabessa Bay that could serve as potential sources of ongoing, long-term income for its fish sanctuary.
Haiti’s FoProBim will carry out a project to address both community economic development and environmental degradation. First, it will recycle used containers that once held things like oil, paint or juice as plant pots for new mangrove nurseries. In areas where it re-introduces mangroves, locals will be equipped to begin beekeeping, providing an alternative income activity for those who would otherwise rely on timber harvesting for income.
In Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Florida Sea Grant, an affiliate of the University of Florida, will work with local fisher cooperatives to develop and test the effectiveness of best management practices for fish aggregation devices (FAD). FADs are man-made structures that float on or just below the surface of the water and, if well managed, create safe habitats for fish and more productive fishing areas.
Also in the Grenadines, Sustainable Grenadines, Inc. will work with fishermen to strengthen fishing associations, raise their awareness of sustainable fisheries practices and adopt the use of lobster pots as an alternative to trammel nets, which cause extensive habitat destruction by indiscriminately entangling a wide variety of marine organisms.
Counterpart has worked in coastal communities around the world since its beginnings as the Foundation for the South Pacific in 1965. Recognizing that effective natural resource management requires an understanding of the relationship between ecosystems, communities and economies, Counterpart applies science-based methodologies to identify culturally-sensitive and economically viable conservation and restoration interventions across marine ecosystems.
Counterpart is proud to welcome these new partners and to continue its support for coastal communities and their environments. Counterpart’s role as a catalyst, champion and technical resource is helping these at-risk communities plan for and create a better future.
Counterpart International is a global development organization that partners with local organizations - formal and informal - to build inclusive, sustainable communities in which their people thrive. For nearly 50 years, Counterpart has been working in partnership with communities in need to address complex problems related to economic development, nutrition and health, humanitarian assistance and strengthening civil society. Learn more at www.counterpart.org.