• Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya says road expansions are ongoing to open up the Shimoni-Vanga area and pave the way for more development.
• He said the Shimoni port will facilitate local fishermen in finding good markets.
The UNDP has assigned Sh31.6 million to eight Shimoni Beach management units to promote inclusive and sustainable development at the Coast.
Speaking in Kwale during the launching of Shimoni-Vanga seascape community projects, United Nations Development Programme deputy resident representative Mandisa Mashologu said through the small grants programme, they plan to incorporate local capacities to create jobs and livelihoods for the poor and marginalised.
It involves engaging residents in environmental conservation to expand other sectors of tourism and agriculture.
"We want to sensitise communities on safeguarding the environment, not only to protect the marine ecosystem but most important to support livelihoods and looking at expanding on various areas of tourist attraction and crop growing,” she said.
Mashologu said due to different levels of biodiversity loss and land degradation promoted by climate change, it is crucial to protect the seascapes because it threatens the lives of communities that depend on seas. She urged women and the youth to exploit their vibrancy for the benefit of the environment programme.
"Let’s promise that in future we will have more females and youngsters in these congregations because you are the only ones who can spread this gospel far when elders are gone," Mashologu said.
The eight BMU groups are Vanga, Jimbo, Mkwiro, Wasini, Indian Ocean Water Bodies, Center for Environment Justices and Development and Wasini women groups.
UNDP Small Grant Project coordinator Patrick Kimani said the Shimoni-Vanga seascape was selected as one of three ecological areas of global and national significance for funding because it has the majority of important sea resources compared to other places in Kenya.
He said coral reefs, dolphins and different types of fish are found in Shimoni, hence the need to support and realise its growth since it provides essential services for food and employment.
Kimani said the money will be used to impart the BMUs with skills on enforcement and patrol against illegal fishing.
“This area being a biodiversity hotspot, whatever funds we have shall be used to train communities on how to guard the sea from exploitation by unlawful fishermen,” he said.
He said they will help create resilient coral reefs through restoration, conservation, and education and procure equipment such as solar freezers, boats, and engines to attain sustainability.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya said road expansions are ongoing in the Shimoni-Vanga area to pave the way for more development. He said the Shimoni port will facilitate local fishermen in finding good markets. He added that the port will prioritise residents for job opportunities.
(Edited by F'Orieny)