2011 has been an incredible year. I met many wonderful people, saw my efforts begin to make a difference in the community, and finished up my time in Mopeia. It’s hard to believe that I’ve finished my 2 years with Peace Corps and with Save the Children as a community health volunteer. I have learned so much along this journey, about myself, about the world, about life in general.

Many months back I heard about a really interesting project going on in northern Mozambique that caught my attention. I contacted them and was given the incredible opportunity to stay on another year with Peace Corps working for the CARE/WWF Alliance in the coastal town of Angoche. The program Primeiras e Segundas combines development and conservation efforts with projects focused on empowering people while also protecting natural resources. Some of the ongoing projects include teaching conservation agriculture, monitoring fishing techniques and evaluating the effects these have on local fish populations, working with community rangers to count wildlife on the island chain off the coast, and many others. So I’m beginning another year here in Mozambique and I’ve written up a small introduction about the project I’ll be working for and why it’s unique.

Livelihood security is a term used often in development work but what does it mean? The simple answer is the ability of a household to meet its basic needs. These include shelter, access to healthcare, adequate supply of food, basic education, a sufficient level of income, and participation within the community. These are basic rights that should be guaranteed, regardless of race, religion, gender, geographic location, or any other prevailing factor. But the reality is that many go without some or all of these necessities. In the coastal area of southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, as in many places in the world, families are struggling to gain access to these fundamental rights. They rely on the land to provide food, but differentiation in rainfall patterns and prolonged dry seasons is leaving them with failed harvests and nothing to eat. They want to send their children to a local primary school, but the increased amount of labor required in the fields renders many children overworked and undereducated. Focus turns to survival and meeting immediate needs. And nature quite often suffers. Forests are cut down in order for makeshift houses to be built. Seas are overfished because fishermen need to compete to bring home income. Local fauna is killed because of uncontrolled fires used to clear agricultural land. But all of these survival techniques are just quick fixes to a much larger problem. The only way that we can successfully start to think about a sustainable future is by combining our efforts to protect nature and improve the quality of life of people across the world. That’s where the CARE/WWF Alliance Program comes in. CARE International (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is traditionally focused on livelihoods while WWF (World Wildlife Fund/ World Wide Fund for Nature) focuses on preserving our world’s flora and fauna. These two internationally respected organizations have joined together to create the CARE/WWF Alliance. The impact of this innovative partnership is that we are now working toward sustainable economic development with a focus on natural resources. In simple terms- helping the world’s poorest people escape the grips of poverty while also protecting the environment. People depend on nature for survival, and nature cannot survive without the conscious efforts of mankind.
Efforts have already begun in the northern Mozambican coastal communities of Angoche, Moma, and Pebane. Conservation agriculture methods are being taught, land titles are being drawn up, work is being done with local fishing associations to regulate the use of proper fishing equipment, community groups are being instructed on how to maximize profits from their harvest, to name a few of the many ongoing projects. People are being empowered to improve their own lives, while also taking responsibility for the natural resources that they rely on. Development and conservation efforts coming together to improve our world.

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