Coral reef ecosystems are facing major threats due to a variety of anthropogenic and natural factors such as climate change, pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing practices and coastal development. Raising children's awareness of coral reef issues and increasing their knowledge allow a more sustainable use of these ecosystems.
The Coral Reef Teaching Toolbox MARECO has been developed through a scientific program (2014-2017) with a goal to disseminate and communicate results of research conducted on coral reefs. The main objective is to use children, as agents of change, in raising awareness on coastal and marine environments using coral reefs as flagship ecosystem. Conducted in SW Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Reunion, Mayotte and Tanzania), the project assessed the impact of the use of the toolbox on the perception of children through drawings.
MARECO allows discovery by children, targeting ages 5-11, of coral reef biodiversity, threats to reefs, and management options, through three modules (a card game, a picture book, a board game). The kit also includes a teacher's handbook with fully-fledged teaching aids in two parts. The first part gives a range of requisite scientific knowledge, in the form of a factsheet collection. The second part offers pathways avenues for learning activities using each of the three tools. The suggestions can be used flexibly and creatively by teachers for classroom activities, but also experiments, research projects and outings. The results obtained are very encouraging as regards the contribution of MARECO to raising the awareness of the children on coral reefs, and of how to reduce pressures.
The key knowledge and concepts, which MARECO aims at transmitting, are:
1) The biodiversity of the coral ecosystem (game 1: the card game " Coral Reef Happy Families");
2) The identity, role and interactions of the living organisms of the coral reef and their vulnerability facing natural and human-induced disturbances (game 2: the picture book "The Colours of the Reef");
3) The services to humans generated by the biodiversity of the coral ecosystem, the place of humans within the coral ecosystem, and the necessity of cooperation between stakeholders to ensure the survival of the coral reef (game 3: the board game "See you at the Coral Reef").
The Partnership seeks to enhance international, regional, and national collaborations for increasing awareness of young people for the sustainable use of coral reefs and access to education particularly for girls to achieve gender equality. WIOMSA is well established as the lead regional association in all aspects of coastal and marine sciences and management, and to support sustainable development in the Western Indian Ocean Region (WIO). Associated with IRD, an internationally recognised multidisciplinary organisation working primarily in partnership with Southern countries, they will lead the work in collaboration with the other partners well established in the WIO region. This cooperative project will be carried out through official meetings at national and regional levels, but also by research programs involving IRD or WIOMSA in one of the countries targeted by this project. This educational network will also help connecting young generations beyond their borders using the Internet network.
Other, please specify
Financial public supports from the EU, France and Region Reunion that helped for the visibility of MARECO toolbox in SW Indian Ocean region (2014-2016)
In kind contribution of expertise by all member organizations ($16,000/yr for IRD), $10,000 for WIOMSA
Staff / Technical expertise
Research funding for editing the Teaching Toolbox MARECO and a prospecting and maturation agent of the MARECO toolbox