Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Pathways for indigenous knowledge engagement on marine biodiversity conservation
PI: Marivic G. Pajaro, Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc.
US Partner: Douglas Medin, Northwestern University
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2015
The Philippines is a global priority for the conservation of marine biodiversity. The country is also highly dependent on marine resources, with more than one million people directly dependent upon the fisheries sector. This project is based on the belief that local people using indigenous knowledge are capable of solving many environmental challenges, particularly if supported by their jurisdictions. In the Philippines, moving from an exclusive top-down approach to include a bottom-up approach for coastal resource management has become widely accepted as governments decentralize. Even so, local people remain marginalized on issues surrounding natural resource conservation and management. Larger geographical-scale concepts such as biodiversity may be somewhat beyond local knowledge systems and require targeted learning strategies. This project will address the related need for a cross-cultural understanding of environment and biodiversity in fisherfolk cultures. It builds upon fisherfolk social knowledge systems, historic and contemporary cultural profiles, and consideration of economic and political institutions and practices for linked communities.
The current knowledge base indicates that Philippine fisherfolk communities develop through a process of allocating and distributing rights over specific resources and places. The researchers heading this project will work with PAMANA, a national alliance of community-based coastal resource managers. The goals will be to develop a protocol for expanding the ecohealth lens to encompass biodiversity conservation within a wide range of fisherfolk communities and to assist them through best practice transfer to be more engaged in their own future sustainability. The project is also intended to facilitate the development of community-based science curriculum for the first Philippine bioregional or biodiversity-based Bachelor of Marine Science program at an academic institution in Aurora Province, northeast Philippines.
Summary of Recent Activities
Being ahead of schedule on data collection and related activities both in Aurora Province and in the Northern Philippine Sea portion of the project has allowed this research team to enhance their activities through additional partnerships during the summer of 2013. As part of their best practice transfer in Aurora Province, they are working with several agencies to consider maternal and early childhood nutrition in select fisherfolk communities. This has been integrated with their Cultural Consensus Model (CCM ) activities focused on critical aspects of fisherfolk ecohealth. In part to facilitate the work with many fisherfolk communities, two more staff members have been hired. One is from a fisherfolk family in Northern Aurora Province; the second is also from the province and has background in community organization, which is essential for the best practice transfer portion of the research. Data collected from the PAMANA member communities have been assessed and the results from the focus group discussions (FGD) have been added to the project database, while others are being translated from the original dialect (Bisaya) to English. As of October 2013, the team’s focus is on selecting four or five PAMANA sites that provided good results from the first FGD to further document the process for inclusion in barangay/community development plans and in formulating best practice transfer fisherfolk tool. They are also preparing to select PAMANA sites and fisherfolk scientists who will conduct the second set of one-on-one interviews for the CCM. In Catanduanes, $25,000 in counterpart funding from a Canadian organization is expected, which will allow the team to pursue a province wide approach there. Collaboration has been established with the province direct line offices relevant to the project, and the CCM interview has been pilot tested. Other recent activities have included the development of a green-development best practice transfer to support fisherfolk in the season when fishing is difficult due to climate.
Workshops with local fisherfolk are an ongoing activity.
The Aurora Province orientation meeting was held with representatives
from each of the eight Municipal Health Offices.
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