Involvement of the Vezo fishing people in the protection of the underwater cultural heritage

Study and Implementation of Network Systems by Fishers Community Actors for Survival of Marine Cultural Heritage

The blog below by RABEKOTO Andrinjarisoa Heritiana and Jeannette Faranirina (Marovany Association) shares information on their training programme for local community actors.

Project team sat outside ministeranny serasera

Stolen objects from site

On March 14-15, 2020, we started as part of our study project for the survival of the underwater cultural heritage of Southwest Madagascar, the establishment of a network of community actors through training of representatives of the vezo communities. They come from the 6 fokontany in the rural commune of Tsifota, namely the fokontany of Tsifota, Tsandamba, Salary nord I, Salary nord II, Bekodoy and Andravony. He was a focal point and 12 village animators including 6 men and 6 women who were elected by the indigenous populations at the level of these fokontany. Each fokontany already has an association of fishermen and also of women, these gave us an opportunity to adopt the gender approach in this project.

Beforehand, Solondrainy Ernest, the focal point of our association called Marovany, went down by village to organize election meetings for these mixed village leaders who raise awareness among the fishing people in their village. The appointment of these agents was justified by the minutes of the meetings and endorsed by the Fokontany Chiefs. It was the first time in the history of the protection of wrecks in the Southwestern coastal region of Madagascar that an initiative to involve the vezos was launched from a capacity building workshop for their representatives. on the themes in the plan below and carried out in collaboration between the organization of Malagasy civil society and the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture of Southwest.

For the beginning of the workshop which was held in the hall of the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture of South West in Tsienengea Toliara, the Regional Director of this institution took the opening speech, specifying the will of the Malagasy State since 2014 on the protection of the underwater cultural heritage by ratifying this 2001 convention and it also encouraged effective collaboration with the local population on the fight against the illicit traffic of wrecks.

I started the training proper by sharing knowledge on the 2001 UNESCO convention which led us to speak about underwater cultural heritage. The training of Arturo Rey da Sylva from Unesco in 2015 and my experiences as trainers of community workers within Medical Care Development International (MCDI) Madagascar allowed me to adopt the plan of this training. In addition, REMEKY Eric Emilson, member of an association in the Regional Platform of Civil Society Organizations of Southwest, an expert trainer of community agents provided training on topics relating to communication as well as management tools report.

The 13 participants were all active and were very interested in the subjects. They set annual global objectives by type of awareness such as 3,120 interpersonal communications, 624 home visits, 156 group discussions and 2 sketches. That is to say, each facilitator should carry out 240 interpersonal communications, 48 ​​home visits, 12 group discussions and 2 sketches that they will do together during the events marking the commune. So, each village leader has had his working document and the focal point will go on field trips to collect data on the reports of monthly awareness activities by fokontany or village. Then, he will send me this encrypted data so that I can feed the network awareness dashboard. All these tools will be available as an appendix in our final report at the end of the project. Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, send me an email to



1st day

  1. UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

– What is Unesco?

– Definition of underwater cultural heritage

– Potentials of the underwater cultural heritage

– Threats to the underwater cultural heritage

– Why is an international treaty necessary?

– Benefits of ratifying the 2001 convention

  1. Presentation of the 3 wrecked ships in the maritime territory of northern Salary

– Shipwrecked vessels in the maritime territory of Madagascar

– Brief history on the 3 wrecked ships: Nossa Senhora do Carmo (1774); Winterton (1792) and Surprise (1885)

– Activity carried out and current situation on the 3 wrecks

  1. Management of underwater cultural heritage

– At local level

– At regional level

– On a national level

– At an international level

  1. The village animator at the population level

– Definition of the village animator

– Role of village animator

– Behavior of a village leader

  1. Communication

– Definition

– Elements of communication

– Structure of an effective message


2nd day

  1. Awareness

– Objective of awareness

– Different types of awareness: interpersonal communication, home visit, group discussion and sketch

– Steps to follow for each type of awareness

  1. Action plan, monthly report and target setting

– Development of the action plan

– Completion of a monthly activity report

– Calculation of global and individual target setting

  1. Signing of employment agreement

– Drafting of the engagement agreement

– Convention signature by village leaders

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