Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) was the first marine protected area established in Zanzibar. Situated on the uninhabited Chumbe Island, the park encompasses exceptionally diverse, and biologically important coral reefs.
Although a coral island, coral reef ecology is not comprehensively covered in school syllabi on Zanzibar, and very few children have had opportunities to visit, and observe the coral reefs. ICRAN supported the expansion of the existing Chumbe Island Education Programme to provide such opportunities for all secondary schools in Zanzibar, reaching over 600 students and 60 teachers.
A dedicated Schools Coordinator was recruited to engage with local schools and develop briefing packs for teachers and parents. Equipment was purchased to support the school excursions, and further training provided for park rangers, who assisted in the development of ‘field based’ lesson plans, and worksheets for participating students.
Students were given the opportunity to visit Chumbe Island, taking part in a guided tour along nature trails through the forest, and along the reef, and completing field activities designed to introduce the key ideas in marine biology, forest ecology and environmental protection. The Schools Coordinator continues to negotiate with the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports to have the course accepted into the regular curriculum for secondary schools in Zanzibar.
Recently ICRAN has worked alongside CHICOP, adjacent communities to Chumbe Island, and related political and institutional stakeholders to develop a management plan which considers and addresses the challenges and threats to CHICOP existence.