First Blue economy project in Mida Creek to begin in April

More than 3000 residents of Mida Creek in Kilifi County are set to benefit in the first ever sustainable blue economic project aimed at promoting conservation and addressing Climate change effects.

The funding from a United Kingdom organization was offered to a group of women who engage in mangrove planting to initiate projects that will support their livelihoods.

This is after they sent proposals seeking to set up key projects of marine culture, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and fishing.

Already Bidii na Kazi Women group expect to receive the first allocation of sh. 2 million to start up the project which aims at transforming lives and broaden the efforts of sustainable conservation of  one of the world’s key ecologcal sites.

Arafa Salim Baya a conservationist who is a member of Bidii na kazi women group consisting of 19 women said their aim is to create sustainable projects which will not benefit them alone but the entire community of Mida creek.

Their vision is to ensure community members are engaged in sustainable conservation projects that also generate income to prevent destruction of mangroves in the key ecological zone.

Speaking during the first meeting with local conservation groups she said ‘Rising from the depth’ project will be implemented in partnership with national Museums of Kenya because it focuses largely on the cultural heritage.

“The project was competitive and was being sought in five countries, in Kenya there are over 20 groups that applied,’’ she said.

Currently the women plan to set up a restaurant, buy a boat for excursion within the rich sites, and initiate butterfly and fish farming.

The long term project which is done in partnership with National Museums of Kenya and the larger Mida Creek Community together with a team of foreign film makers also shall involve documenting the cultural activities and stories which will be then uploaded in an online platform.

The locals beginning with Bidii Na Kazi Women group shall undergo training on how to operate cameras and enable them to use them to document stories.

Ciza Bita the Malindi Museum curator and Kenya’s underwater archaeologist said they intend to set up an underwater museum within the creek.

He said they did research in 2015 and found out that there dhows and shipwreck under water which date back to over 1000 years ago which make up a key cultural heritage.

“Mida is in the world map since the research begun in 2015, we discovered Mida creek was a key maritime and under water cultural heritage,’’ he said.

On the filming project Bita said locals will have an opportunity to tell stories about fishing, fish mongers, and all rich cultural activities available.

He said through the project they will be able to establish home stay tourism where tourists will come to the village level to stay and learn about the rich cultural heritage.

“The normal tourism of packaging the beach and national parks is fading, tourists want to come and live with the locals eat the traditional chicken., vegetables and everything the locals use,’‘ he said.

Simone Grassi an Italian film maker said they intend to set up the online platform and document the stories told by locals who will be free to express their own voice.

“In one year Mida creek will not be the same , many investors want to come and initiate projects but they need to see the rich cultural heritage, in April the project will officially kick off,’’he said.

Pentti Turunen an expert in cultural project said the project will directly benefit the locals through the restaurant, agriculture and food festival.

He said the project will play a major role in mitigating the effects of climate change which is a global issue.

Mida Creek is a renowned International bird watching site with unique birds species that are rarely found in the world.

It also has unique islands, Such as Sudi Island, Kirepwe Island, and the Garden of Eden which is a nice location for honeymooners among others.

There are also unique historical sites including Shaka caves which used to house slaves who were on transit oversees, Crab Shark restaurant and many other  tourism attraction sites.

This week there will be a stakeholders forum that will bring together government officials and the larger community members to discuss about the upcoming project.