Tanzania’s extensive and resource-rich coastal and marine environment supports the livelihoods of millions in the country and is the mainstay of the artisanal fishing industry and coastal tourism and is the location of key national infrastructure including industry and port development. Yet, weak management and governance challenged by geographical location, a growing population, a changing climate, improved and changing fishing gears, and increasing demands for coastal resources are pushing the environment to its limits.
In 2010, founding members of the Mwambao team traveled the length of the Tanzanian coast to learn more about what is taking place to address these mounting pressures. We saw that while much is being done, from community-led management initiatives to NGO-driven projects, from marine protected areas to integrated watershed management projects, there is little crossover, projects come and go, and often efforts are carried out in isolation. Communities were often unclear of their roles in governance and lacked knowledge and ability to represent themselves. Our potential role was clear – to facilitate learning; to connect local communities together to share information, knowledge, and practice; and to create links with outside resources and networks.
Mwambao’s vision is that Tanzanian coastal community livelihoods are improved and sustainably supported by the ecosystem services provided by a healthy biodiverse coastal environment.
Mwambao’s mission is facilitating a network linking coastal communities and other partner stakeholders that builds community resilience and improved sustainable coastal resource management and livelihoods.