Community leadership and sustainable ocean management: the example of Afeimine | WWF

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Community leadership and sustainable ocean management: the example of Afeimine

Afeimine is an exceptional community leader and member of the locally managed marine area "Vatohara" (coral reef in English) in Befolotse. Her village is located in the South of Toliara. Aged 35 and mother of 6 children, she is a woman committed to the conservation of marine resources and has been able to change the mentality of her community.

After many problems related to the mismanagement of marine resources in her village, there was a time fishes became scarce in Befolotse.

Concerned about the future of the oceans, Afeimine decided to take matters into her own hands in 2019; she ran for the presidency of her community and was elected vice-president. It was the first time in the small village of Befolotse that a woman had the courage to stand up and lead an organization. For her, "the challenge is to ensure that the rules of marine natural resource management are followed so that future generations can benefit from them."

The management of the association has clearly improved since the arrival of Afeimine: the members are more committed and motivated to pay the membership fees, an annual work plan has been designed, a general assembly has been formed and the application of the "dina" (traditional and community regulations for managing natural resources) on ocean management is in force. "A person who violates the law must be punished accordingly, regardless of  family relationship or social status," says Afeimeine.

"The involvement of communities is the perennial solution for an efficient management of marine resources. Indeed, it helps to motivate and empower local populations to take greater responsibility for the sustainable management of these resources since they are the direct beneficiaries," says Tahiry Ranaivoson from WWF. In this principle, "women have a major role to play by being at the forefront of all decision-making," he adds.