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Watamu Marine Association's Journey to Japan

The International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans, hosted by The Nippon Foundation was attended by WMA's chair Justin Kitsao representing Kenya with 20 other countries, hosted by the Nature Conservancy.

In July 2016 Watamu Kenya was represented by Justin Kitsao, our chair at this exciting international symposium. For the full report, check out International Symposium Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans FINAL OUTCOMES REPORT JULY 19-20, 2016

Justin was part of the presenters focusing on educating and connecting. The Honorable Dr. Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean, U.S Department of State and Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University, highlighted in her video message the power of good science, collaboration, and working together to find innovative solutions to solve complicated problems. She noted that "it is possible to recover the bounty of the ocean if we are smart about how we do it" and that investing in nature is the smart way to invest in people and our future.

Mr. Justin Kenga, from the Watamu Marine Association, Kenya, presented the local solid waste management program which has created local solid waste management enterprises to address the threats to marine environment from marine debris. Their program started with recycling old flip flops into souvenirs, now they have established recycling centers which attract academic interests as well as tourists, created new jobs and incomes to 25 communities, and reduced pollution on the beach which is key to local tourism. They have facilitated community action and been cleaning beaches once a week for the last 6 years. He described how youth from local communities are involved, with these activities and the suite of educational programs provided to hundreds of children and adolescents.

Mr. Kenga noted that the government supported the cross-sectoral benefits of this work: the fact that the youth were involved, jobs were created, and services were established that protected tourism and fisheries industries.

He highlighted that having government support for the program was important, and commented that one of the challenges for the program was to secure land and infrastructure to start recycling facilities.

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