The aim of the project is to increase the capacity of the Canal Studio Association to empower local communities to protect and manage globally significant biodiversity at the priority Key Biodiversity Area of the Santo Mountain Chain.
Given the Canal Studio’s strengths in traditional cultural expressions, festival and event production, and local community mobilization, through this project we will focus on leveraging traditional cultural expressions (songs, stories, dance, arts) as vehicles for promoting the conservation of biodiversity in the Santo Mountain Chain. A specialist Environmental Officer with work with existing staff to provide technical and scientific direction to the existing program of traditional cultural expression.
They will travel with staff to the three villages of Hokua, Penaoru, and Pesena. The project team will conduct participatory activities in the villages, which will be designed to raise awareness about the values of biodiversity and the nature of threats and drivers among local communities at priority sites. The activities will also lay the foundation for future projects, which will provide training and capacity building for local communities to conduct baseline studies, in conjunction with researchers from regional organizations and research centres. Each village will work with the project team and select specific stories, songs, dances or other traditional cultural expressions relevant to the threatened species. These traditional cultural expressions will be featured at the Mini Arts Festival in Hokua village and the Lukaotem Gud Santo Festival held in Luganville.
The results of the project will be increased awareness of the species which are threatened; greater understanding of the links between traditional resource management and the contemporary concept of biodiversity; more awareness of the links between cultural heritage and conservation; and, local and provincial awareness and support for conservation and biodiversity through the promotion of the endemic species as part of the ecology of Espiritu Santo.
This project is funded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEFP): www.iucn.org/about/union/