2015 cohort MAR Fellows at the Induction Workshop
Dear friends and supporters!
We are happy to share with you the progress made by the MAR Leadership Program and Fellows in the development of their projects and their professional careers along the third quarter of 2015.
2015 cohort recruitment process
In June 2015 the MAR Leadership Program launched the 2015 Call for Applications. The 2015 cohort’s theme is mangrove conservation and valuation. MAR Leadership’s goal is to conserve 20% of the existing mangrove cover in the (MAR) over the next five years by reducing deforestation and degradation of mangrove ecosystem services (ecotourism, coastal protection, fisheries, blue carbon, aquifer protection) and addressing threats to mangroves through a range of strategies and projects advanced by selected Fellows. A total of 167 people contacted us for information and we received 49 complete applications. 22 people were interviewed through Skype and 19 candidates were interviewed in person. From the 49 applications, 47% were from Mexico, 33% from Honduras, 12% from Guatemala and 8% from Belize. 13 fellows were selected for the 2015 cohort: five from Mexico (Rebeca, Minerva, Blanca, Jennifer and Carlos), three from Guatemala (César, Guillermo and José), three from Honduras (Mayra, Óscar and Anuar) and two from Belize (Ralna and Cecilia). Four fellows represent the government sector, two the private sector and seven the NGOs. Seven fellows are women and six are men.
2015 cohort Induction workshop
We had a great start of the 2015 cohort cycle!
The induction workshop took place 5-12 September in Cancun, Mexico. In the first section of the workshop Fellows were introduced to Mexican Fund and the MAR Leadership Program. They were also trained on Leadership styles by the MAR Leadership Program Director and on Storytelling by former National Geographic Magazine Editor.
In the middle of the week we went to the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an where we learned about the community tourism project led by Vicente Ferreyra (MAR Fellow 2010) and Community Tours. We hike through the archaeological site of Muyil and the jungle in an interpretive trail. We crossed the turquoise Chunyaxche lagoon and floated in the fresh water canal between red mangroves. The field trip ended with a local lunch and the presentations of Community Tours Operations Director and Community Leader and the Omar Ortiz, Director of the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an (CONANP).
2015 cohort mentors Rich Wilson (Seatone Inc) and Lauretta Burke (WRI) trained Fellows in economic valuation of mangrove ecosystem services, governance and facilitation techniques. Guest speakers included Maria Jose Gonzalez (MAR Fund), Ricardo Gomez (Regional Director, CONANP), Jose Luis Funes (Delegate for Quintana Roo State, SEMARNAT), Patricia Santos (CONANP), Maria Teresa Rodriguez (CONABIO), Jorge Herrera-Silveira (CINVESTAV), Esthela Martinez (Flora, Fauna y Cultura) gave interesting presentations to the Fellows.
By the end of the workshop 2015 fellows had a common understanding of the importance, values, and conservation challenges surrounding mangrove ecosystems in the MAR. They learned about the Coastal Capital methodology for conducting economic valuation, and about governance, stakeholder engagement, strategic communication and facilitative leadership. During this workshop Fellows had the opportunity to interact with special guests and started building synergies between past and present Fellow projects.
2014 fellows’ use of their individual capacity building funds
Along the first half of this year (Jan-Jul) the 2014 cohort fellows used their Individual Training Funds that the MAR Leadership Program has reserved for them to perform the activities they consider imperative in order to the success of their projects. In this way, two fellows (Tzahyri from Mexico and Joanna from Guatemala) traveled to Canada and got enrolled into a one month fulltime English course at the Internacional Language School of Canada –ILSC, an educational community that delivers dynamic and inspirational English language training program in different sites of the country. Both Fellows largely improved their communication skills, and now they will be able to better persuade international stakeholders and donors into their projects.
Mario from Guatemala used his funds to undertake a 2D and 3D AutoCad Software Learning Course in order to better design and manage a Transfer Station and the needed machinery. These learned skills will definitely be used in the building of a transfer station in Livingston, Izabal. Mario also used part of his funds to join his colleage a 2014 MAR Fellow Emerson from Belize, in a visit to Punta Gorda, Belize, were Emerson´s project is located. They both were doing research on the logistics regarding the exportation of solid waste out of the Punta Gorda dumping site. After this visit, and a previous one, Emerson also was able to create the first draft of a solid waste management diagnosis for Punta Gorda town.
The 2014 Fellows were also very active presenters. Mónica from Mexico was granted to attend to 8th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC 2015) held in Gotemburg, Sweden, where she exposed her project “Connecting Initiatives for a Healthy Reef: a virtual learning platform on Sustainable Materials Management for the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion” and the MAR Leadership program in two oral presentations. The project “Sustainable materials management in Roatan” was accepted for oral presentation at the10th International Congress on Environmental Education for Sustainable Development, in Havana Cuba, so Cindy from Honduras used part of her funds to cover her registration and travel expenses. And Laura from Honduras was invited by Mark Lichtenstein, 2014 MAR-L mentor and National Recycling Coalition CEO, to attend the Summit on Sustainable Materials Management held in New York State, EUA, an event organized by the National Recycling Coalition, Inc. (NRC), in collaboration with the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Finance.
Finally, Fernando from Mexico was granted to attend to a course on how to perform inventories of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions, taught by the Scientific Researching Center of Yucatan (CICY by the Spanish acronym). The knowledge achieved by Fernando on this course to quantify emissions will generate a tool to incentive the hotels and developers of Yum Balam to perform good recycling practices (like composting or reusing instead buying new) as they are proved to decrease the GHG emissions.
2015 1st Workshop in Cancun: mangrove valuation
2015 1st Workshop in Cancun: field trip
2015 1st Workshop in Cancun: storytelling training