We are pleased to announce that for the third consecutive year, Savitri has committed to sponsor a Whitley Fund for Nature Award. Our 2019 recipient is Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, the National Coordinator of Mihari, a Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) network in Madagascar.

Through Mihari, Vatosoa works across the country to build collaborative partnerships between local fishing communities and organisations. This interactive process of dialogue and learning allows such communities to build their capacity for the sustainable management of Madagascar’s marine environments.

In upholding their belief that this island’s coastal inhabitants are ‘guardians of the ocean’, the Mihari network ensures to prioritise their traditional knowledge of these ecosystems, enabling them to assert their independence and defend their rights as fishers.

Such advocacy is vital for an island as distinctly biodiverse as Madagascar. With the ever-increasing threat of commercial fishing, combined with the isolation of coastal communities, the actions of Mihari have already proven to be invaluable. To date, the network has connected over 200 community associations and NGOs along the country’s coastline to share best practice and develop management guidelines.

With the support of the 2019 Whitley Award, Vatosoa’s project will:
• Expand the network to support fishing communities in three new coastal regions in Madagascar;
• Bring together leaders of 40 LMMAs (Locally Managed Marine Areas) for comprehensive training in the management and governance of their marine resources;
• Work with the government to secure legal status for LMMAs including the creation of a reserved area for small-scale fisheries; and
• Promote knowledge sharing between the 200 participating community management associations ensuring best practice in marine conservation and sustainable use.

To find out more about this remarkable project, visit the Whitley Fund for Nature Winners’ Page.

Click on the video below to watch Vatosoa’s speech at the Award’s ceremony.