Rehab of Pottuvil nursery LK , Sri Lanka © KEkaratne, 2009
This project aimed to encourage local community participation in environmental protection activities.
The Community-Based Eco-guide Association (CEGA), a group of professional eco-guides based in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, aims to promote community-based tourism as a means of generating income and raising living standards. Community-based ecotourism has proved to be financially viable, providing valuable extra income for fishermen in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. With a small grant from MFF, CEGA set out to rehabilitate and reconstruct Pottuvil mangrove nursery with the assistance of fishing communities in the Hidayapuram Cooperative Society.
Members of Hidayapuram Cooperative, Arugam businesses and CEGA.
The project brought about an increased awareness and interest in environmental conservation and protection among the participating communities. It also increased cohesiveness and cooperation among community members. Further, it helped to increase local skills, knowledge and awareness about the technical requirements for collecting and propagating mangrove seeds, nursery management, and reforestation.
CEGA introduced an ecotourism programme through training of field guides; ecotours have proved an additional source of income for the community members belonging to the Hidayapuram Cooperative Society, increasing their economic power and independence.
Poor weather, including drought, led to a high seedling mortality rate. Stray cattle also destroyed a number of seedlings even though they were protected by barbed wire fencing and coverings.
The ecotours industry has the potential to create employment for both men and women in local communities.
Efforts to raise awareness among communities and improve stakeholder participation are needed throughout the project cycle. Project designers also need to plan from the outset to convince the community that they are the owners of the project and the benefit will be theirs.
Panama, Sri Lanka
1st Jan 2009 to 30th Sep 2009
Main Street, Arugam Bay,
Tel: +94 71 2058513