ECMMAN Campaign: Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network
(Caribbean - Saint Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis)

It is said by many that the Caribbean is one big island separated by huge rivers. The islands share one history, the same foods, close cultures, and many of the same environmental issues.

The ECMMAN campaign, while being implemented in Saint Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis, will endeavor to bring to the minds of all citizens the plight faced by the lush beautiful seas and marine life that we all enjoy. In 2015 a creative campaign entitled “This is Who We Are” was launched. All islands competed to create a campaign motivating populations to get involved in protecting their beautiful environment. Whether it’s on our plates, on our television screens, or on our walls, our seas and their inhabitants are in great danger. The “This is Who We Are” campaign spoke to this danger and encouraged the celebration of the unique environments. Pride and love created presentations, radio shows, music videos, clean up activities, PSAs, and a social media presence.

The ongoing ECMMAN campaign seeks to assist with declaring new MMAs (marine protected areas) and strengthening those that already exists. It is hoped that by the end of the campaign, participating countries will have successfully built strong constituencies for sustainable livelihoods and ocean-use. These countries will improve their Eastern Caribbean Decision Support Systems, which will provide accessible decision-making tools and incorporate current ecological, socio-economic, and climate change data. They will also institute sustainable mechanisms to support the MMA networks, which will include regional political commitments and actions, collaboration mechanisms on marine and coastal resources, and sustainable financing.

To achieve these goals the six countries have embarked on a six month journey in 2015 where they employed Entertainment Education components tied into Communication for Development Strategies to get their messages across to a wide target audience that included government agencies, school children, fisher folk, hotelier, visitors to our beautiful isles, and the general populace.

“This is Who We Are” exceeded expectations by producing the following in 2015:

  • 32 interactive presentations in primary and secondary schools on all six islands, including engaging field trips, music, performers, mascots and dance;
  • 25 radio shows with popular hosts, including interviews with ECMMAN teams and leading conservationists in all six islands;
  • 7 “This is Who We Are” songs and accompanying music videos by regionally popular artists with positive conservation messages;
  • 5 beach clean-up activities, including clean-up support during aftermath of tropical storm Erika in Dominica and an underwater clean-up in Grenada;
  • 6 PSA’s disseminated through TV, radio or newspaper ads, including customized cartoons; and
  • 5 national and 1 regional ECMMAN Facebook page with increasing “friends” and viewers.

A workshop at the end of 2015 in Dominica allowed each campaign to receive public presentation training and discuss what they hope to achieve as the program progresses. Each team partnered with a mentor to polish campaigns before they shared them with international media and campaign experts. These experts judged each campaign and awarded the top three countries with prize money totaling $9,000. Additionally, each participating team received $1,000 to continue their campaign in their countries.

Phase Two aims to continue raising awareness on marine protection issues while continuing to sustain the already present movement in their countries. In Phase Two, countries hope to establish partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, promote environmental stewardship and create a sense of responsibility to protect marine ecosystems, foster national pride, encourage sustainable resource use, change negative perceptions of MMAs, and educate stakeholders about the benefits of environmental conservation work.

Our audiences will be exposed to musicians who have pledged their support and have become ambassadors for this campaign and the sea. They will interact with mascots who will carry messages of protection, sustainable fishing, and no littering to name a few. They will participate in competitions and tournaments for both children and adults that will both entertain and educate about the importance of our marine life as island people. They will partake in seminars and community activities including clean-up campaigns, family fun days, and reef excursions.

As these campaigns are rolled out, it is believed that all who participate will not only have loads of fun but they will also learn some valuable lessons about our oceans, our food supplied by these oceans, our people and cultures, and how to protect all that we have been bestowed as custodians of.

The success of the “This is Who We Are” campaign in 2015 prompted a workshop to discuss the next phase of the program. After surveying each country at the Dominica workshop, the goal for the next phase emerged: the sustain the movement on the ground an to continue to raise awareness on marine protection issues.

The campaign received high praise from all countries involved and the experts who visited during the workshop. The campaign reached and resonated with many people in their country. Each campaign elicited positive responses from community members and an eagerness to learn and participate. Partnerships were strengthened and bonds were formed as all engaged helped to preserve their unique environment.

In Phase Two the implementation of online communication platforms will be utilized to stay connected. A cycle of newsletters and meetings will reinforce coalition building and allow participants to stay informed on what activities their counterparts are engaging community members in. Sub-committees, such as fundraising, will be introduced to improve communication and implementation of future projects. Additionally, training, monitoring, and mentoring by expert staff will continue into Phase Two in order to ensure maximum capabilities are reached.

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