UK donates drone to GMCS, empowering indigenous youth to protect mangroves in Barima Mora Passage

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To bolster conservation efforts in the Barima Mora Passage, the United Kingdom has donated a state-of-the-art drone to the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS). The drone, presented by British High Commissioner Jane Miller, aims to enhance mangrove monitoring and raise awareness about the critical role of these ecosystems.

Under the auspices of the UK’s Blue Social Challenge Fund, Indigenous girls and boys are undergoing specialized training to champion conservation efforts in the region. Equipped with drone technology, they are poised to safeguard mangroves and educate local communities about their importance.

During a recent visit to Region One, High Commissioner Miller, along with Programme Manager Kassia De Santos and Political, Press & Public Affairs Officer Tianna Graham, observed the training provided as part of the pilot program. Seven youths from communities including Aruka, Smith Creek, Morawhanna, and Imbotero underwent a three-month training program and received certification in drone operation for monitoring mangroves and the coastal ecosystem.

Hinterland students to benefit from education programme about Guyana’s sacred Barima Mora Passage | OilNOW

The approach addresses threats to the Barima Mora Passage’s blue economy and climate resilience gaps. By monitoring areas affected by illegal clearing and fires, the Indigenous youths will play a vital role in protecting mangrove ecosystems and facilitating timely intervention to prevent further degradation.

The pilot program not only equips the youth with valuable skills but also shapes the UK’s Blue Social Challenge Fund to effectively support communities in developing climate solutions and building resilience in the face of environmental challenges.

According to Programme Lead Annette Arjoon, the training will strengthen the monitoring capacity of Barima Mora Passage communities in the long term. It will facilitate research, raise awareness, and contribute to the conservation of critical marine and mangrove ecosystems, fostering sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience.

Just days after their graduation, the trained drone operators were called upon by the Protected Areas Commission to assist in identifying a forest fire in the Shell Beach Protected Area, Guyana’s sole coastal protected area. Led by Shakira Yipsam of Aruka, the drone unit successfully completed its mission, highlighting the immediate impact of their training and the invaluable role they play in environmental protection.

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