It was such a blessing for me to find out about REEFolution Kenya. My bachelor International Land and Water Management mainly focuses on the agricultural aspects of water management, whereas I started to be more interested in the marine aspects. A friend of my dive association told me about REEFolution Kenya. After having a look at their website, I was immediately enthusiastic to go there and become part of their project!
In Shimoni, the small coastal village where the project is located, I combined my internship with thesis research. For my thesis research I assessed the reputation of coral reef restoration projects among community members, with REEFolution Kenya as my case study. The three villages: Shimoni on the mainland and, Mkwiro and Wasini on the island were included in this research; I conducted a total of 122 interviews among the inhabitants of these villages. It was such a great experience to work together with the local population. Patrick from Shimoni, and Sharif from Mkwiro, showed me around and helped me as interpreter. It was so valuable to talk with the people and to discover what’s going on both under and above the water.
For my internship I planned to delve into the aquaculture in this area, the environmental programmes at the largest mine of Kenya, Base Titanium and the coral reef restoration at REEFolution itself. Ewout, my mentor at REEFolution, gave me a lot of freedom to investigate these professional learning objectives, which resulted in very interesting and educational visits to seaweed farms in the area and Base Titanium. And of course, the activities at REEFolution itself provided me with a lot of experience and information about coral reef restoration and even the social aspects of this organisation. I have been involved in building nursery structures, dives where we harvested and out-planted coral pieces, studying the fish and benthic in this area, clean-up activities, environmental education at a girls’ primary school and many more activities regarding coral reef restoration. Last but not least, I have been trying to learn some Kiswahili, which was very nice to practice during my fieldwork for the thesis.
Overall, my experience at REEFolution Kenya has been one of the best, providing me with a lot of knowledge and experience! The team we were working with was amazing, the hospitality of Harm has been great and to get to work together with the locals has been of such added value.
International Beach Cleanup Day, we dove at the Shimoni Harbour to clean the ocean floor
Moving coral fragments
Visit to Base Titanium
Visiting Sea Weed Farms
Outplanting harvested coral fragments to bottle reefs
Thank you for sharing your story Rosanne. You have been of great value and your insights are of great value to future coral reef restoration projects!