On Lake Oguemoue near Lambarene, Gabon, the local community group of OELO balances ecotourism with sustainable freshwater resource management to impact local policy. Their ecotourism enterprise of Tsam Tsam supports hundreds of local fishers by putting nature and wildlife at the heart of sustainable livelihoods. In 2018, the OELO community launched a sustainable freshwater fisheries management plan that was signed into national law, which now dictates the sustainable use in part of Gabon’s largest Ramsar site. Through activism and environmental education, the organization protects against overfishing in Gabon’s Great Lakes region, protecting key species such as the African Manatee.
The organization also takes a holistic approach to sustainable fisheries management by promoting alternative livelihoods for fisherfolk in the region. One example is their trailing of fencing to reduce human-elephant conflict that has traditionally hindered the development of agriculture in the region.
Equator Prize Winner: 2022
Year of establishment: 2011
Location: Lambaréné, Gabon
Ecosystem: Forests, Wetlands and rivers