The core of the Indian Ocean Observatory (IOO) combines maritime research, academic rigour, community conservation and media publishing.
We acknowledge that the western Indian Ocean region is confronted with the challenges of climate change, discoveries of vast mineral deposits and attracts international interests as an important maritime lane. Prospectors and foreign investors are seeing the region as a treasure trove or an emerging market; we see it as a common heritage of mankind aimed at benefitting all.
In our endeavour to provide knowledge, generate up-to-date surveys, community involvement in conservation and information dissemination, the IOO works with several international partners and local groups across the western Indian Ocean region. We do this through our several inter-linked nodes.
The Western Indian Ocean region [Image courtesy: NOAA]
Our research brings together both marine and social scientists to a round-table with grassroots leaders. Our studies range from mangrove forests conservation, community marine protected areas, environmental conservation, sustainable fisheries, energy access, marine life, climate change, infrastructure development and extractive industries.
We combine coastal livelihoods with marine science in coming up with study models that are applicable and directly impact on oceanic affairs and communities within the coast. We maintain a permanent marine research team gathering data on marine life, coastal changes and economic trends in the region. We also work directly with communities on sustainable fisheries, environmental conservation and species survival.
In collaboration with our partners we conduct a series of specialized training workshops, internships, mentorship and retreats for researchers, community conservation leaders, environmental groups, fishing communities, marine scientists, development economists, marine protected areas managers, school groups and journalists. Our training modules are coastal-specific and oceanic-oriented with emerging regional and global trends defining the annual curriculum.
Our seminars are aimed at boosting management of grassroots’ environmental groups, enhance fishing skills, bolster survey skills among marine professionals, encourage marine science in schools and motivate community conservation groups.
An on-shore and offshore trip is part of the curricula for our marine protected areas courses.
Through its flagship The Lighthouse and web portal www.theioo.com we run an independent newsroom spearheaded by career journalists and media academics to run incisive in-depth analyses, interviews and commentary discussing the western Indian Ocean region at a time when it has generated intense interest globally.
We highlight, analyze, interpret and build future scenarios on how the region interacts with the rest of the world environmentally and geo-politically. We uncover and unbundle maritime science for easier grasp and we shed light on the crucial place of this rim to the world of business, politics and diplomacy. We also conduct special courses and mentorship to empower journalists in unpacking marine science to better their reportage of coastal issues, climate change and coastal ecosystems.
The IOO is cognizant of the diversity of the region’s heritage, cultures, political and business molds present in the western Indian Ocean. IOO-MediaHub aims to encourage interaction as growth comes from shared experiences and values.
By Kenneth Esau Oduol [Kisite Mpunguti Bay, Kenya] In…