CoastSnap Mozambique project is launched! A citizen-science coastal monitoring initiative (Part1)
Last July I had the opportunity to travel to Mozambique to launch the CoastSnap Mozambique project. CoastSnap is a citizen science project in which participants take pictures of a beach from a particular viewpoint were a fixed metal stand is installed. The stand holds the smartphones and ensures pictures are always taken from the same position. These pictures are later shared with the project team using social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) or email. This allows the project team to build, over time, a database of images to understand shoreline behaviour, to analyse erosion, storm impacts and social beach uses. You can find CoastSnap stations in 40 locations across 10 countries and counting! We have extended the CoastSnap community to the African continent, with four stations installed in Moçambique: Ponta do Ouro (close to the border with South Africa), Tofo (in Inhambane) and two in Ilha de Moçambique.
After a long journey from London, I landed in Nampula on the 29th July, where I met my collaborators from University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), Dr Nordino Muaievela and Leovigildo Cumbe. They had travelled from Maputo to coordinate the installation of the CoastSnap frames and the beach topography survey. We travelled by road to Ilha de Moçambique (a fascinating and somewhat frantic 3hour journey, which included, at one point, a pig on a moped!). Local collaborators were the partners from UNILURIO, Dr Pedrito Cambrao and Pinho Cololo waiting for us with a warm welcome.
The next day, I had the opportunity to appreciate the strong local connection with the sea. After checking the sites to decide on the best locations for the CoastSnap stations, we started with the installation and the beach survey. A community workshop was planned for the next day and we wanted the frames installed to showcase to participants. As part of the beach survey Leovigildo flew a drone to obtain accurate data of the beach elevations, which definitely produced a small audience of interested locals!
Dr Nordino Muaievela and Leovigildo Cumbe with the Installation of the CoastSnap station in Ilha de Moçambique and beach survey
On 31st July, the first CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ilha de Moçambique organized by UNILURIO officially launched the project. With a healthy attendance, the workshop comprised of government representatives, school teachers, fishers’ association, hoteliers and students among others. The workshop started with opening and welcoming speeches by the Director of the Faculty of Social and Humanities Sciences at UNILURIO, the President of the Municipality of Ilha de Moçambique, the Administrator of the district and Dr Pedrito Cambrao. They highlighted the importance of the project outlining the need to better understand beach behaviour, particularly after the recent cyclones, which had some impacts in Ilha. During the workshop, local traditional dancing called “tufo” and the University Chorus delighted the participants with their singing, music, movements and colourful capulanas (a sarong-style wrap-around skirt).
UNILURIO chorus singing the University imno and representation of traditional dancing with the association of “Tufo Assanate”
With the help of a translator, I was able to introduce the project, highlighting the importance of beach monitoring and the ways participants and the local population can contribute. Finally, Dr Nordino Muaievela gave an overview of the importance of coastal areas in Mozambique and the main instruments and activities used by UEM to monitor the coast. Some interesting questions were raised from the participants, such as how this project may help to put Mozambique, and in particular Ilha de Moçambique, in the global spotlight. They also highlighted the necessity of advertising the project to reach more people, and some examples of how this could be achieved, for example by creating a video that could be displayed in the local tourist office and on social media.
Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project
To close the workshop, all attendees were taken to one of the two beaches where the CoastSnap stand had been installed. The team gave a demonstration of how to position a mobile phone in order to capture the beach and the ways to share this with the project partners.
Presentation of the CoastSnap station near the Fortress beach
Leovigildo Cumbe taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in -Praia de Miami-, the east site of the island (#coastsnapilha)
As our trip in Ilha came to an end, we flew to the capital Maputo and from drove to Ponta do Ouro, in the southern part of the province of Maputo. Waiting there was Dr Jaime Palalane, co-investigator of the project from UEM, and Dr Luciana Esteves from BU, who had missed the work in Ilha due to flight delays disrupting her travel. You can follow what we did in Ponta do Ouro in the next blog.
Participate in the project! If you are travelling to any of the three CoastSnap Mozambique sites: Ilha de Moçambique, Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) and Tofo beach (Inhambane), find the CoastSnap stand, take a picture from there and share it using hashtag #coastsnapilha, #coastsnapponta and/or #coastsnaptofo. Find out more in our Facebook page (@CoastSnapMoz), the Rising from the Depths website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org