With a coastline of approximately 1400 kilometer square, Tanzania is endowed with rich and diverse marine life. However, exploration of its Indian ocean is seemingly out of reach for most Tanzanian’ young people residing in the coastal areas despite the fact that they live in vicinity with the ocean. Statistically, In Tanzania, 64 percent of the population is under 24 and those aged (15-35) account for 34 percent of the entire population of more than 45 million people, which means young people are one of the largest untapped resources for advancing the local marine conservation agenda, the deficit is attributed to fear of water, lack of water safety gears/equipment for exploration and historical cultural barriers that the ocean is not a safe space.
The devastating outcomes have led to ignorance about the ocean leading to excessive threats spanning from pollution to use of destructive gears, A lack of knowledge on importance of marine habitats, unawareness of how human activities destructs marine life, and most importantly untold stories of life below water from the youth point of view, all these contributes into putting future of our oceans at risk as lack of exposure leads to less interest of young people to engage in marine conservation at local level. We need to create the next generation of “well informed” ocean conservationists, aspiring researchers and storytellers who would take keen interest in our ocean in making sure that it’s sustainable.
The Underwater Marine Conservation Program by Aqua-Farms Organization tends to address the challenges by building local capacity to youth in marine conservation through Basic underwater monitoring skills, storytelling, and filmmaking. The program targets the 3 groups of youth between the age of 14-18, 19-25 and 25-35 years old.