The livelihoods of thousands of people rely on the natural resources provided by the park’s vulnerable ecosystems. Three of the islands are permanently inhabited by 5,000 local people, who are governed through traditional councils and who rely on the area’s marine resources for subsistence and small-scale commercial fishing. It is therefore essential to implement a strong community engagement programme to create a firm foundation on which the relationship between the local communities and park management can thrive. This ensures that local communities understand, benefit from and support the preservation of this archipelago. The park contributes 20% of all tourism revenue to the local community through their respective councils to support projects that benefit the society as a whole.
African Parks continues to provide quality educational opportunities that support economic and social transformation while raising awareness of environmental issues. The provision of school facilities and learning materials assists many community members to become employable and competitive in the workplace. Environmental education is emphasised through the creation of wildlife clubs in schools to encourage participation in initiatives such as beach clean-ups and to foster support for conservation.
Enterprise development will be achieved through the growth of the sustainable tourism industry in Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, as it will not only create jobs but also stimulate the local economy. Income-generating projects, including aquaculture initiatives, will provide an alternative to the dependence on resources from the park.
Bazaruto has the potential to be an exceptional marine and coastal tourism destination in East Africa, from which local communities stand to benefit through economic and employment opportunities. African Parks is working to increase community employment through tourism concessions, training local tour guides and hospitality training. This will help create a conservation-led economy and will increase the value and buy-in from local communities of maintaining Bazaruto as a protected area long into the future.
When the catastrophic Cyclone Idai befell Mozambique in March 2019, African Parks launched an emergency response in the immediate aftermath, bringing over 140 tonnes of food, 37 doctors, 1,500kg of medical supplies and 2,200kg of other essential items to more than 2,900 families left devastated by flooding.
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