“Supporting Alternative Livelihoods for the Fisher Communities in the South East Marine Protected Area through Ecotourism Development” – Request for Additional Funds
“Supporting Alternative Livelihoods for the Fisher Communities in the South East Marine Protected Area through Ecotourism Development” – Request for Additional Funds

Graviers, is one of the coastal village that is found within the South East Marine Protected Area. The fishers have been fully supportive of this marine protected area. However, these fishers need other activities to earn a living.

Fishing is one of the largest employment sectors on Rodrigues, as there is a lack of industrial development and tourism is growing. In 2006, there were 2,024 full-time, registered fishers (13% of the total workforce) with a further 2,000 people fishing on a casual basis. The octopus fishery is dominated by women, over 90% of whom earn less than $100 per month from fishing. The fisheries are however in serious decline and fishers are suffering from a loss of income with many of them depending on Government allowances.

The techniques used by the fishers also cause substantial damage to the lagoon coral and algal habitats which are important to ecosystem health. This habitat damage is of concern as Rodrigues is part of the Mascarene biodiversity hotspot, which is the fourth most important reef ecosystem in the world. In response to the degradation of the reef environment and the need to improve fisheries sustainability, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has embarked on a strategy to develop a network of marine reserves and a marine protected area in the south to allow degraded habitats to recover and fish stocks to regenerate.

The South East Marine Protected Areas was proclaimed in 2009 under a UNDP GEF MSP project, in full collaboration with the local fishing communities. A key issue however, is the lack of alternative sources of income for fishers.

The development of alternative livelihoods for fishers is vital to ensuring the success of the South East Marine Protected Area in Rodrigues as well as to restoring the fish resources of the lagoon. There is a very important number of fisherwomen in Graviers who are dependent on the marine resources. This project is in line with the current priorities of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) which has stressed the need to remove pressure from the lagoon to allow the degraded ecosystem to regenerate. The development of entrepreneurship is an extremely important issue in Rodrigues. The RRA aims to encourage more people to move into new income generating activities to boost up the economy of the island and provide employment.

The aim of this project is to provide an alternative means of subsistence for 14 fisherwomen by building and operating a multipurpose tourism handicraft Centre. The project will help marine biodiversity by reducing fishing pressure in the lagoon, allowing fish stocks and degraded habitats to recover, while preserving popular diving and snorkelling sites which have healthy coral cover and are home to endemic species of coral and fish. It will also benefit the community in Graviers by improving their income, by providing a better standard of living for the fishers and their families.

Rodrigues had about 94,270 visitors in the 2016 and it is expected that the trend is going to grow to reach 150,000 visitors by 2020. Graviers has an ideal location with a trail going towards Point-Cotton following the eastern coastline. We are expecting an average of 10 tourists per day at our ecotourism centre which will provide tourists and islanders with snacks, natural fruit juice and souvenir in term of handmade craft. With each visitor spending an average Rs. 250, it will generate a turnover of 750,000 yearly.

This project aims at poverty alleviation through economic empowerment. It will help to:
• Reduce unemployment
• Provide new skills to vulnerable groups including managing money, family budget and a small business.
• Become economically sustainable and enhance self-worth, and
• Promote eco-tourism for Rodrigues and Rodrigues craft

Added-value elements

This project leverages on the tourism industry and the pristine environment as an important contributor to the growth and development of Rodrigues.

• Starting with Textile Craft (patchwork products) the project will help reduce and re-use waste
• Since the garment unit will be equipped with sewing machines, the group will also undertake the sewing of uniforms for office workers and students and garments for the community
• The catering unit will promote the traditional Rodrigues cuisine, while having as objective to also specialise in production of traditional pastries for the tourists

Description of achievements to date

To date the Association Feminine Pêcheurs Graviers has achieved the following:
1. partial completion of the construction of the multipurpose tourism and handicraft centre
2. completion of the capacity-building programme for women members in quilting and patchwork at Magic Fingers in Mauritius with support from International Office for Migration
3. completion of hands-on training for one member of the association in Mauritius at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel by Chef Nizam Peeroo.

Problems or difficulties in project implementation:

We have been through major difficulties and facing huge challenges up to now. The first major obstacle was lease of a plot of land which took 2 long years to be granted. Finally, with the intervention of the National Coordinator UNDP GEF SGP and support of the Chief Commissioner, we managed to secure a land lease for our project and all the women were relieved. Another struggle then began to secure the building permit which took a long time to be finalised. We had to talk to registered professional bidders for the construction of the building and explain the grassroots nature of our project. Still all quotes received for the construction of the building were above Rs 2M. We finally opted for a group of experienced masons under the guidance of an engineer from the Public Infrastructure of the RRA. They quoted Rs 850,000. We submitted the plan from the architect and it took several months of knocking on doors to get the permit after which we had to review the construction plan after the visit of two Chefs who proposed some useful amendments.

Another factor that hindered the construction process was the other major infrastructural development that was done in Graviers. The construction of a new road, with loads of materials (rocks etc...) on the project site severely delayed the construction of the building.

Also, the GEF SGP UNDP budget allocated for the construction was Rs 800 000 which implied at that time that the Association would have to incur the additional fees of Rs50000. This contribution was not originally planned by the association and the members tried to raise funds from other sources as well as self-raising through sales of cakes and other such products.

The support of GEF SGP UNDP to the tune of Rs 1,518 750 was granted in November 2012. The delay in getting the lease document of the land which had been promised in a letter dated November 2012, followed by delays in getting construction permit and building plan, further compounded by road works, severely hindered the progress and delayed the project. Construction only started in January 2014. By that time, there had been several increases in all building materials as well as restaurant appliances. It was clear that the funds obtained would not be sufficient to complete the project and run the business. By then we also no longer had support from Mrs. Brenda Clair-Felicite who had been helping us to manage our project.

With support from GEF SGP our association submitted 2 requests for additional funding to DCP/EU in 2013 and 2014 but these were unfortunately not accepted. In November 2015 we received support for the management of our project from the office of the then Deputy Chief Commissioner, Mrs. Franchette Gaspard Pierre-Louis. Through her support and support of technical staff, we also received Rs 500,000 which allowed us to purchase further material and carry out construction works such as tiles and veranda fixtures. Unfortunately, it was still not sufficient to complete the construction.

In 2016, with further facilitation from GEF SGP, a team from DCP/EU visited the site in view of financial support but this was again not successful. In 2016 upon suggestion from Mrs. Gaspard Pierre-Louis, the GEF SGP approached the “Special Collaborative Programme for Support to Women and Children in Distress” of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. With the help of the DCC’s office, a request for funding was submitted to the SCP in 2016 and again in 2017. Unfortunately, these submissions were not well prepared and substantiated. By end 2017, the SCP closed without approving our project.

In November 2017, during a site visit by the GEF SGP UNDP and Commissioner Gaspard Pierre-Louis, it was proposed that a further request be made to the RRA for supporting our project to the tune of Rs 2M approximately under additional budgetary support. The Mauritius Telecom Foundation was also approached by the RRA. Most unfortunately none of these were successful.

Today our association has an almost completed building, which cannot be granted operational permit for restaurant until it is completed. It needs electrical and plumbing works and we need to purchase the kitchen and garment making equipment as well as furniture and restaurant utensils. Members of the association need further training as well in all the relevant areas for the operation of the units. We have Rs 633,888 carried over from the first GEF SGP grant which will not be sufficient to cover all these expenses.

We are making a humble request to the GEF SGP UNDP and to the RRA to support our additional request for funding to allow us to complete construction and finally start our project.

More specifically the additional funding will allow us to:

• finish construction of building, paint and make good
• fully equip the Garment Unit and the Catering / Restaurant section
• install plumbing and carry out electrical works
• enhance the appeal of the site and be more welcoming for tourists
• develop further the competencies of members in local food production as per HACCP standards, textile craft, marketing, sales and overall business management
• Refresher course on quilting and patchwork
• hire the services of a competent project manager to coach and accompany members for a period of at least 1 year in business management, financial literacy and catering / traditional cuisine / product development.
• Running cost of the restaurant and garment making unit

It is expected that all participants will be multifunctional to be able to contribute to all activities of the multipurpose tourism centre, from cleaning to patchwork to catering and to assist in project administration.

The potential cross sector linkages include:
• Support to fishermen by becoming a potential outlet for fishing catch
• Support to community level crafts person by providing a space for showcasing their talents
• Waste reduction and protection of the environment by promoting recycling of textile craft
• Eco-tourism development and preservation of the environment
• Provision of tourist guide services by youth of the region to discover the South-East region through trekking activities

The broad time frame for the project (18 moths) is as follows:
• M1-M3: Completion of infrastructural works
• M3-4: Purchase and installation of equipment, furnishings etc., formal applications to relevant authorities and securing necessary permits and licenses
• M3-5: Capacity building
• M6: Initiation of operation of Multipurpose tourism Centre, Visibility event
• M6 -18: Coaching, Marketing, addressing operational issues
• M 18: End of project

Table: Breakdown of additional funds required

Budget Item Description Amount (MUR) Request to GEF SGP Request to RRA Request to be made to CSR/Another donor
Cost of restaurant equipment 1082936 1082936
Shipping to Port Mathurin 55257 55257
Commissionning and Installation Cost including air ticket 168130 168130
Sub Total Equipement1
10 Tables + 40 chairs 80000 80000
Kitchen and restaurant utensils 100000 100000
Tables, chairs, and shelves for Garments Workshop 100000 100000
Sub Total Equipement2
Electrical work and plumbing works 400000 400000
Installation of 1 water tank 2500 Lts, grease trap and absorption 70000 70000
Construction of Veranda 300000 300000
Painting and Making good 200000 200000
Leveling and Planting outside 10000 10000
Sub Total Construction Works
Marketing and Communication 50000 50000
Transport goods and materials 60000 60000
Project Management/Coaching for 1 year (@Rs20000x12months) 240000 240000
2 Training Workshops on restaurant management by Les Toqués (Chefs) including air tickets, accomodation for 2 chefs and supplies 100000 100000
Refresher training in quilting including 5 sewing machines @ max Rs 10000/machine and Rs50000 training 100000 100000
Running cost for Restaurant for first 6 months 70000 70000
Running cost for Garment workshop for first 6 months 25000 25000
Launching ceremony including catering by the Association 60000 60000
Sub total Others expenses
Total 3271323 2606066 665257
Risk management (5%) 163566.15 163566.15 0
Contingency (5%) 163566.15 163566.15 0
Total funds required 3598455.3 2933198.3 665257 587260.3
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Project Snapshot

Rodrigues Association Feminine Pecheur
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 36,278.65
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 10,000.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
(230) 213 53 84
(230) 212 14 11


2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website

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