Dar es Salaam – Last week, the United States and Tanzania launched the five-year USAID Heshimu Bahari (“Respect the Oceans”) project. USAID’s initial $8.4 million investment in the project will enable sustainable co-management and biodiversity conservation of marine resources through active involvement of local communities.
The launch event was attended by Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff, who was in Tanzania with his wife, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, as part of a broader trip to celebrate and deepen the United States’ partnerships in Tanzania and across Africa. Joined by the ministers from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (mainland) and the Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries (Zanzibar), the Second Gentleman formally announced the Heshimu Bahari project and highlighted the key role of women in advancing coastal climate resilience. In their remarks, the ministers from Tanzanian mainland and Zanzibar noted the challenges posed by threats to marine biodiversity to local livelihoods, and stressed the timely assistance provided by the project and its linkage with Tanzania’s own development strategies.
The Second Gentleman met directly with local community members and leaders in the fishing industry prior to the launch. The female fisher persons, community leaders, and other representatives discussed with the Second Gentleman the barriers Tanzanian women face to their full participation in Tanzania’s fishing industry.
The Heshimu Bahari project will address numerous threats to Tanzania’s marine ecosystems, including promoting gender-equitable approaches to development, addressing overfishing that has profoundly damaged key coastal fisheries, and mitigating the impact of climate change that has disrupted ecosystems and livelihoods, and impacted the tourism potential of the country.