In Kapapir village in Pakistan, women have been trained in embroidery, stitching and baking.
Photo: Mangroves for the Future
Improving livelihoods of coastal communities
The livelihoods of coastal communities are heavily dependent on coastal ecosystems. Sida supports Mangroves for the Future that promotes livelihoods which are both environmentally sound and economically realistic.
The Mangroves for the Future (MFF) initiative contributes to safeguarding and increasing the wellbeing of coastal communities in Asian eleven countries. MFF provides a platform for collaboration among the many different agencies, sectors and countries which are addressing challenges to coastal ecosystem and livelihood issues. The goal is to promote an integrated approach to coastal management and to build the resilience of ecosystem-dependent communities.
Sustainable livelihoods is one important piece of the puzzle. The livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities are heavily dependent on resources and services provided by coastal ecosystems. From basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter to services like tourism and recreation, coastal ecosystems cater to a multitude of human needs. MFF focuses on promoting livelihood activities that are environmentally sound, economically realistic and sustainable. Together with partners it seeks to address the challenges faced by coastal ecosystems and communities.
In Kapapir village in Pakistan, women have been trained in embroidery, stitching and baking. They started receiving seasonal orders from friends and relatives. With increased experience they will be able to receive work orders from a wider market.
Fisherwomen growing aloe vera
In Puttalam, Sri Lanka, MFF helped to empower local fisherwomen, who once only engaged in fishing activities, through the cultivation of aloe vera. The project raised the living standards of the targeted women and increased their self-confidence by providing them with business skills. It also helped establish links with the market and provided them with a stable monthly income. The increase in the number of fisherwomen involved in the project meant less pressure on marine and coastal resources. In addition, unproductive land has been made productive through this project.
The introduction of fuel-efficient cooking stoves to communities in the Teknaf Peninsula, Bangladesh, has led to a 30-40 % reduction in monthly fuel costs and reduced health hazards by reducing smoke levels. The project has also contributed to improved vegetation cover in the local area which brings its own benefits to the biodiversity and productivity.
Communities caring for important ecological areas
In Xuan Thuy National Park, Nam Dinh Province, Vietnam, a co-management initiative helped 500 women to gain user rights and recognition by park officials. Enlisting community participation in caring for important ecological areas is an excellent strategy in protected area management, as communities have insight into the natural resources on which they rely.
The engagement of women in mangrove management projects allows women's voices to be heard, and increases their opportunities for being engaged in management decision-making process. For example, women have asserted their interests to be able to continue fishing and collecting clams in the mangrove forest in Xuan Thuy. Women's livelihoods have benefited from this access to local fishery resources at the fringe of the park and the participation of women in helping protect mangrove forests translates into improved resilience for coastal communities as a whole.