Community Environmental Sustainable Mariculture(COMENSUM)
About the Implementing organization
Name: Community Environmental Sustainable Mariculture (COMENSUM)
Year of establishment: 2011
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization
Mombasa County as a tourist destination has Mangroves as the only existing and gazetted forest which is also facing extinction due to extensive destruction for the construction of buildings (for residential and hotels), logging and charcoal burning.
The Eco-friendly conference center was established on a formerly degraded mangrove area where the local community had lost hope. A few youth saw the potential and embarked on Mangrove forest restoration. The eco-friendly center also serves as a mechanism for creating awareness and to showcase the importance of mangrove ecosystem. It also acts as a hindrance to any further destruction of mangroves.
The initiative is promoting the planting of mangroves on bear tidal flats through scooping of silt from the ridges due to soil erosion from the farms. Scooping of silt enhances root development and general growth of the mangroves. This has proved all bear tidal flats can be rehabilitated to a mangrove plantation.
The flora and fauna are slowly being restored, providing a potential site for ecotourism.
Forests / Oceans / Coasts / Wetlands / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Disaster risk reduction / Climate action
16 hectares of degraded areas have been rehabilitated. 150,000 mangrove seedlings have been planted. Mangrove planting has counteracted biodiversity loss and has enhanced breeding grounds for various fish species, marine organisms. The ecosystem has become a food chain to birds like falcon, egrates, Ibis etc. Other animals include monkeys and geckos. Increased mangrove cover is an indication that in the near future the community will appreciate their conservation efforts as they stand to gain great benefits socially, economically, and environmentally— especially on mitigation of effects of climate change. Mangrove forests have acted as barriers against sea rise. From the upstream mangrove forest acts as a sieve to protect the growth of corals. The initiative has identified a need to improve the policies guiding management of the ridges to reef activities. Through awareness, the community has now learned that mangroves can be planted and managed as any other forests.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The initiative has created job opportunities to at least 20 people working for the center. Casual laborers are also engaged whenever a need arises. Fish farming and other alternative livelihoods have supplied food to 40 households directly attached to the initiative. Mangrove forests act as barriers during sea rise and will reduce risks in case of floods or any eventualities. Climate change has been a key challenge to loss of biodiversity. The silvofishery activities have provided a breeding ground for marine organisms and restoration of the mangrove ecosystem. The Eco-Friendly Conference Centre will attract income through the hire of venue and put more money to the members through dividends. Mombasa being a tourist destination, ecotourism services at the center will boost community livelihood. The center has a potential for growth and future expansion to offer accommodation services.
COMENSUM has the potential for scaling up to a fully-fledged vocational center on nature-based enterprise and a research institution. On policy impact, working closely with government institutions has provided an opportunity to identify gaps within and possible solutions to improve community participation and benefits sharing.
COMENSUM is a replica of a model promoted by Kwetu Training Centre for Sustainable Development (Equator Prize award winner 2008). The group members provide technical support to upcoming community-based organizations. The initiative has a great potential for replication along the coastal strip where all mangrove forests face similar challenges.
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