BERKELEY, California —A Berkeley-based organization- Seacology-has won a grant of almost $1 million for a conservation project in Sri Lanka.
The Berkeley-based organization is a winner in this year’s Water Window Challenge sponsored by the international Global Resilience Partnership. A goal of the competition is to bolster the resilience of flood-prone communities in Central and East Africa and South and Southeast Asia against climate change and natural disasters.
Seacology’s Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project aims to protect the Indian Ocean island nation’s remaining mangrove forests, replant thousands of acres of deforested coastline, and offer microloans and business training to tens of thousands of disadvantaged women who otherwise would cut down mangroves to sell as charcoal, according to a news release. The project is in collaboration with the local non-governmental organization Sudeesa, also known as Small Fishers Federation of Sri Lanka.
“This project makes Sri Lanka the first nation in the world to protect all of its mangrove forests,” Duane Silverstein, Seacology’s executive director, said in the release. “This is very important as mangroves sequester more carbon than other forests and thus play a vital role in the battle against global warming.”
The grant will allow Seacology to expand the project to northern and eastern portions of Sri Lanka that were disproportionately impacted by a 26-year-long civil war, fueled by ethnic tensions between the nation’s Buddhist Sinhalese majority and Hindu Tamil minority, that was officially proclaimed ended in 2009.(East Bay Times)