WWF Guianas aims to safeguard the integrity of 80% of mangroves and other coastal wetlands by 2020. As part of enhancing the capacity of local civil society groups and others, WWF Guianas in Suriname, under the SRJS (Shared Resource, Joint Solutions) project is working with the tourism sector, civil society groups and communities to develop mangrove eco tourism. This project serves to enhance community members’ awareness and understanding of the ecological/economic value of mangroves and supply professional insight, to train local community members to become mangrove rangers and expand their knowledge and skills in tour guiding and visitor handling, and to help advocate for their protection. By empowering these Mangrove Rangers and Eco-tour guides, they can expand their efforts to reach other community groups such as fishermen and run similar workshops in schools for students and teachers. WWF Guianas has collaborated with the Mangrove Action project (MAP) – using their Marvelous Mangroves Curriculum, the SORTS foundation, NCD, the Mangrove Educational Centre Coronie (MECC) and the United Tour Guides Suriname (UTGS).
The following training workshops were supported:
Mangrove ranger training in Coronie (23-25 October 2017)
Mangrove ranger training in Commewijne (27-28 October 2017)
Mangrove ranger training in Nickerie (May 2018)
Bird Watching training in Coronie (May 2018)
The training workshops included tour guides, community members, students (from the Stichting Suriname Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre (SHTTC) en Natuurtechnisch Instituut of NATIN), and others.
We especially encourage young people (18-30 years), to be part of the mangrove education process in their district, and train them to become mangrove rangers and ‘eco’ tour guides. This will generate an income for these community members, enhance their understanding of the multiple benefits and values of mangrove ecosystems for communities, and ensure that tourists are guided by (semi-) professionals.