Global Giving Report: March 2012Thanks to our donors on behalf of the TRY Oyster Women’s Association. The women were very happy to receive your donations and danced their traditional Jola dance to show their appreciation and gratitude.We continue to be busy here at TRY, especially with the opening of the oyster season on March 1, 2012. The women will be using the items you have generously purchased for them through your donations, including protective boots, life jackets, and boats, while harvesting the oysters in the mangrove forests. This gear is not only critical to improving the women’s safety and security during harvesting, but it also guarantees more efficient and productive harvesting. This allows the women at the end of the day to bring home more money to support their families.While your donations have been so beneficial to the oyster harvesting, we have been focused on improving the oyster product. We are encouraging the sale of smoked oysters as customer demand is high. With the addition of the smoking oven at one of the landing sites, women there will now be able to smoke oysters in large quantities with little adverse effect on their health (the smoke is channeled through a pipe greatly reducing the risk of smoke inhalation). To increase sanitary measures when handling the oysters, we are promoting the use of hand gloves and measuring scales to sell the oysters. The goal is to eventually replace selling by the cup and with selling metrically. Another way of increasing the professionalism and organization of the Association and its members is the wearing of TRY ID badges and red colored overcoats while selling. The women also received training in proper food handling and hygiene.All of these developments were discussed with the whole of the TRY membership during a series of meetings held both at the TRY Center and in various communities before they were implemented. The members were also trained in small business management and how best to manage their finances.After many months of working on the Oyster and Cockle Co-Management Plan for Tanbi Wetlands National Park and collaborating with all involved partners, TRY members, along with Fatou, attended the approval and launching of the Plan on January 17, 2012. The TRY women were visibly excited to attend such a monumental event, which they helped to bring about. The official approval means TRY Association and its membership committees in their local communities have exclusive use rights anddecision-making authority regarding the harvesting, processing and marketing of cockles and oysters, as well as the sustainable management of these resources within the Park.Adult literacy and numeracy classes for the women are currently on break until the end of the oyster harvesting season as women are now very busy. We are in the midst of planning for our upcoming festival event, which will take place on Saturday, April 28th. We are very excited about the festival and hope to be successful in gaining recognition and publicity, while also generating funds for the Association.Finally, we are happy to announce that TRY Oyster Women’s Association is one of the 25 winners of the UNDP Equator Award among 800 entries worldwide. Out of 800 competitive applicants from around the world, TRY stood out as one of the top community based organizations using local solutions to create a sustainable balance between people and their natural environments. TRY will officially receive this award at the Equator Prize Award Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this June.Thank you all so much again for your generous donations. You continue to make a difference in the lives of these women.
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