Reef doctor is a non-profit organisation created 15 years ago based in the Bay of Ranobe in Southern Madagascar. They aim to protect marine and terrestrial habitats through conservation, research and restoration projects, but also support the local community with social development and poverty alleviation. Reef Doctor has created and nurtured many community-led local initiatives to encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable fisheries.
Since they were first established, Reef Doctor has repaired and improved many of the local primary schools as well as pioneering a marine curriculum in the local children’s education. By 2010 they set up Women's Associations for the local towns of Ifaty and Tsivonoe; where they introduced alternative sources of income, such as arts and crafts training to manufacture products to sell to tourists. In regards to the natural environment, Reef Doctor piloted the creation of artificial reefs to ensure safe, non-destructive fishing grounds along with developing projects in coral gardening and reef restoration techniques such as coral nurseries. In fact, by 2015, it was estimated that 1100 turtles had been saved over the last 2.5 years thanks to Reef Doctor’s tagging programme!
The Research Assistant and Divemaster Internship is a course designed for those interested in tropical marine conservation, but lack experience. During the 6-month course, I will receive PADI dive training along with intensive science training, in order to actively assist in Reef Doctor projects as well as regular coral reef scuba surveys. I’ll also assist with scientific report writing and help out the Dive Officers in the daily operation of the dive shop, diving schedules and dive training. With all of this experience and the lovely environment provided by Reef Doctor, I am most definitely excited for the adventures ahead!
If you want to learn any more about Reef doctor's current activities, follow their Facebook page!
Next week: Reality setting in, scuba equipment shopping spree!