8 March 2018
Concerned about the impact of these problems on communities and ecosystems, Peace Parks Foundation launched a community health programme with a specific focus on reproductive health, as part of its conservation efforts in Mozambique’s Maputo Special and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserves.
The first phase of the project, saw the Foundation enter into a strategic planning partnership with Blue Ventures, a UK-based conservation agency that develops transformative approaches for catalysing and sustaining locally led marine conservation.
Blue Ventures recognises complex links between poor health, unmet family planning needs, food insecurity, environmental degradation and a vulnerability to climate change. To address these challenges holistically, the organisation developed an approach which integrates community health services with marine conservation and coastal livelihood initiatives. Blue Ventures’ population, health and environment support officer, Urszula Stankiewicz shared, “If women have access to family planning, they can be autonomous and be involved in both economic activities and conservation programmes. This promotes food security and decreases pressure on natural resources which ultimately positively impacts conservation in the area.”
In 2016, Peace Parks Foundation embarked on a journey of discovery to learn as much as possible from Blue Ventures - even travelling to Blue Venture’s projects on Madagascar’s west coast where they spent several days immersed in holistic community-based work and tailored interactive training sessions covering a variety of technical Population-Health-Environment topics.
This collaboration led to the development of a detailed strategy to ensure that communities gain access to family planning services and contraceptives and are informed about their reproductive rights. The process also identified the need for the appointment and training of community-level champions, or so-called activistas (community health workers).
Enter the activista
With the initial strategy as a solid roadmap, AMODEFA, a Mozambican-based non-profit organisation that specialises in community health projects, was appointed mid-2017 as an implementation partner. With support from Peace Parks Foundation, they are responsible for training and supporting 15 activitas as community health representatives. Ten of these activistas have concluded their training and already passionately taken up their new duties in the villages bordering the reserves.
A lack of formal education also has an impact on women’s attitudes towards contraceptives. Maria Ndala, a 34-year-old mother of six is her husband’s third wife. Her two sister wives each has five children. Her mother had refused to send her to school saying that it was more important for her to start working and contributing to the family’s income. Maria says, “I have always been aware of family planning, but there were many myths surrounding the use of contraceptives, so I was too scared to use them. The costs involved in traveling to the clinic also made it very difficult. After the activista explained how the birth control medication worked I decided to start taking the pills, because our family simply cannot afford to support any more children.”
The next phase of this project will aim to include increased access to reproductive health information and services, and broaden the scope of intervention to also include access to information and basic healthcare. Lessons learned from the successes achieved here will be used to develop and implement similar projects in other transfrontier conservation areas across the region.
10 July 2018Congratulations to a true custodian of nature!
Peace Parks Foundation is proud of the passionate and dedicated teams, on the ground in transfrontier conservation areas daily, fighting the good fight to protect southern Africa’s natural heritage!read more
15 June 2018Providing water as a life source for people, livestock and agriculture.
As part of the MozBio Water and Agriculture Project, two of four multi-use water systems were this week handed over to the Gala and Guengu communities in ceremonies led by the Matutuine District Permaread more
24 May 2018Ellie mom saved from snare
A remarkable rescue mission was undertaken Sunday, 20 May 2018, when a female elephant, with a two-week-old baby right on her heels, was seen early-morning with a snare cutting into her left hind leg.read more
17 August 2017Rewilding Mozambique's Elephant Coast
As part of ongoing efforts to develop the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area, a further 2 300 animals are being translocated to Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique during 2017. As oread more
9 January 2017 Conscious Conservation
Without fanfare, a conservation success story is unfolding just over the border in southern Mozambique. If you are a lover of wild places, this may just be the best kept secret in southern Africa.read more
2 January 2017Where Wildness Lives
Imagine one hundred kilometres of deserted beach, seeing both elephants and whales in a single glance, and spotting endangered leatherback and loggerhead turtles silently nesting under cover of night.read more
28 November 2016Further training to protect turtles
From 25-26 November, Centro Terra Viva presented a refresher training course for the 46 turtle monitors who cover the area from Ponta do Ouro to Ponta Mucombo in Mozambique. The training comprised botread more
15 November 2016Restocking national parks as part of transfrontier conservation development
A further 573 animals have been translocated to Maputo Special Reserve and 310 to Zinave National Park.read more
8 November 2016Wildlife thriving in Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique
At the end of September, the Maputo Special Reserve/Tembe Elephant Park management committee conducted an aerial census to determine the status of the large herbivore species in Maputo Special Reserveread more