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  • Writer's pictureMahonia Na Dari


When international NGO network organisation Mission Blue decided to declare Kimbe Bay as an environmental “Hope Spot” on 05 November, 2019 the team at Mahonia Na Dari knew the best way to celebrate; plant mangroves.

It was a lucky coincidence that MND was also due to officially celebrate the pending close of a successful USAID funded project August – December 2019. A USAID support team was due to visit MND 04 – 06 November and they agreed to the rather unusual project closing “event”.

On the morning of 5th November, 2019 the MND project team and 5 visiting marine researchers gathered with 60 high school graduates of MND’s Marine Environment Education Program (MEEP) at Numundo shoreline and together planted 200 mangrove seedlings.

MND started a Numundo shoreline mangrove rehabilitation project in November 2017. To date students participating in MEEP have planted close to 3,500 mangroves.

The USAID Mangrove Planting Day event was remarkable in that it demonstrated the effective and valued partnerships that MND enjoys with USAID, palm oil developer NBPOL, James Cook University, Boston University (USA) and Exeter University (UK). All had representatives getting dirty planting mangrove seedlings on what was a very special day for Mahonia Na Dari. The announcement of Kimbe Bay as a Mission Blue environmental Hope Spot and MND as a Hope Spot “Champion” acknowledges not only the significance of the biodiversity of the area but also the longevity and credibility of MND as an effective genuine environmental education NGO.

MND has completed successive USAID funded projects from October 2017 to March 2019 and August 2019 to December 2019. MND Education Officers Somei Jonda and Lena Mula believe it was appropriate to celebrate the Mission Blue Hope Spot announcement and the USAID project at the same time by having local students plant mangroves. Lena told a journalist that;

“The 60 students are from Kimbe Secondary School and Kimbe International School and are all recent graduates of our MEEP. We did not have to show or tell them what to do today- they already knew.”

The students enjoyed a hot-dog lunch after their hard work prepared for them by MND’s Finance & Administration Manager Elizabeth Marisa. Also involved in planting mangroves with the students were visiting marine researchers Gemma Galbraith, Amy Coppock and Kelsey Webber from James Cook University as well as Theresa Rüeger, a postdoctoral researcher from Boston University (USA) and Exeter University (UK). Diane Miro from NBPOL Sustainability Dept planted seedlings and provided logistical support.

USAIDPACAM mid-term project reviewers Jess Dizon and Arika Kumar were inspired to plant seedlings in the black volcanic sand and somehow remain impeccably clean.

Taking a quiet and low profile but no doubt proud stance in the background was agriculturalist and Women Divers Hall of Fame member, Mrs Cecilie Benjamin a founder of Mahonia Na Dari in 1997.

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