Artículo | 08 Mar, 2024

Meet the Mentors: in the words of WIOMPAN leaders

Learn about the potential and impact of the mentorship programme of the IUCN Green List in the Western Indian Ocean region, in the words of WIOMPAN (Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Network) mentors themselves.

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Interview by Karen Allen, co-founder of Likhulu Foundation in Mozambique.

"I bring 10 years of MPA management experience to this new organisation. We are a Maputo-based nonprofit and we're dedicated to delivering marine conservation impact and also developing capacity in MPA staff and leaders across Mozambique.

I guess my motivation for becoming a mentor is really centred on addressing a major need in Mozambique, where MPA management capacity is severely limited, especially given the country's commitment to expanding protection from 2% of Mozambique's EEZ to 12%. And I'd also like to see Mozambique's MPA staff having access to resources that could help develop their skills and competencies and leadership capabilities.

In terms of what's at stake in the WIO and how I think mentorship can help, I know the WIO to be biologically rich, but marine resource use in this area is largely unregulated and there's a very real risk of environmental bankruptcy and the loss of resilience of both coastal communities and coastal ecosystems. Less capacity is built among MPA and also other LMMA leaders across the WIO. As a mentor, I would like to, as much as possible, enrich, excite and motivate other MPA professionals and share the thought processes and also approaches that have helped me grow in my profession."

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Dr Mulali Machumu, Principle Tutor, Fisheries Education and Training Agency

Interviewer: Can you please say your name?

Dr. Mulali Machumu:  My name is Mulali Machumu. I work for the Fisheries, Education and Training Agency. Prior to the Fisheries Agency, I was working with the Marine Parks and Reserves Unit at different capacities.

Interviewer: And today you are here as a mentor for WIOMPAN. Would you tell us what motivates you to be a mentor?

Dr. Mulali Machumu: Yeah, there's a number of motivations to be a mentor. First of all is to address challenges. There are so many challenges related to science which need to be addressed. So being a mentor, I think I can help to address those challenges.

Interviewer: And what impact or results would you like? What would be a good achievement?

Dr/ Mulali Machumu: A good achievement for me is to develop my professional career. Because by doing mentorship I will be also learning, but also, I will be sharing my expertise with the other people. So, it is a good thing which I think we will help our marine protected areas within the region to develop.

Interviewer: And last, why do you think this mentorship programme is important for the WIO Region?

Dr/ Mulali Machumu: Yeah, it is very important and this has been identified to be a gap for a long time. And I think now it is high time to fill that gap because there is a number of issues in the area which need to be addressed, but they don't have such answers. But also having mentors within the region can help to share lessons learned and experiences from different people.

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Olivier Pasnin, Reef Conservation, Mauritius

"I have been working as an expert in the marine conservation field for the past decade. I realised that even though I was providing solutions to the problems that we're currently facing I was not building a conducive environment for people to develop critical thinking with a solution driven mindset. In other words, they were always dependent on me.

Right now I feel that I have enough knowledge and experience which I wish to share among interested people to allow them to find solutions to their respective issues.

The Western Indian Ocean has currently about 143 MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) with over 200 LMMAs (Locally Managed Marine Areas) this covers around 7% of a total Exclusive Economic Zone under protection. In order to provide for a proper protection and preservation of a marine biodiversity present with those protected areas while also ensuring that the communities present of benefiting as well, it is important that protected areas meet the minimum criteria which are globally accepted.

The mentorship programme offered by the IUCN for the Green Listing of MPAs, will provide an innovative experience where people in the region working within MPAs will have access to a pool of mentors who will guide them in the whole process of getting a marine protected area Green Listed by the IUCN.

Furthermore we are expecting to enhance capacity building by creating an environment of learning and sharing for both mentors and mentees. As a mentor, I'm hoping to craft my leadership skills by building in experience for allowing others to become a better version of themselves. I'm aiming to facilitate the growth of individuals by allowing them to develop this case, assist them in my capacity and setting up the scene where the mentees will become future mentors."