Ambassador Thomas Holds Reading Session with Children of Fisherfolk to Promote Marine Protection

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 6, 2013

U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. together with U.S. Embassy Manila’s Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Gloria D. Steele, spent the morning of September 6 in Taloto Elementary School with more than 30 children of fisherfolk from nearby communities. The Ambassador read a story about fish in Mabaw Reef, a marine protected area. The children were later surprised to see three mascots that represent the flagship fish species of different Bohol municipalities.

“The preservation of the Philippines’ natural resources is important as we continue our work towards achieving our mutual goal of broad-based and inclusive growth. The best way to ensure the success of our initiatives is to educate the younger generation about their responsibility to the environment as they will soon be the caretakers of the country’s rich resources,” Ambassador Thomas said.

The ‘Pride Campaign’ is the signature program of Rare that aims to inspire people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique. Pride includes a holistic combination of capacity building in management, enforcement and governance, underpinned by a strong community mobilization and behavior change campaign using social marketing.

Rare, a non- profit organization with the mission of conserving species and ecosystems around the world, train campaign managers or conservation fellows to run a Pride campaign in their areas. At the end of the course and field work, fellows earn a graduate degree in Communication with an emphasis on conservation from the University of Texas. To date, Rare has partnered with 25 of the Philippines’ 850 coastal municipalities, focusing primarily on building community support and infrastructure for fishery “no-take zones” and local enforcement.

USAID supports Rare’s program ‘Coastal Climate Change Adaptation: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)’ which aims to strengthen MPAs as a platform for building community, ecological, and social resilience among coastal municipalities in the Philippines. This four-year program seeks to improve municipal MPA networks, covering 25 focal MPAs that total over 1,500 hectares of MPA.

Rocky Tirona, Rare’s Country Senior Director, welcomed the guests from the Bohol provincial government and various local executives from Tagbilaran, Inabanga and Ubay, sites of past USAID-supported coastal and marine management programs. She gave a brief overview of Rare’s work in the Philippines partnering with the Local Government, the communities and other non-profit organizations. The local executives responded with a pledge to continue to help the communities in strengthening their MPAs.

Last updated: July 31, 2014

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