Mosquitia Pawisa Agency for the Development of the Honduras Mosquitia (MOPAWI)
Founded in 1985, MOPAWI works with Indigenous, Afro-honduran, and Local Communities Peoples of North-East Honduras, known as the Mosquitia regionn. The Mosquitia region lies in eastern Honduras and is part of biodiversity rich Greater Mosquitia Ecosystem. It has wetlands, lagoons, mangroves and the world's second largest coral reef. It is home to four indigenous groups - the Miskito, Tawahka, Pesch and Garifuna. These groups make their living by subsistence agriculture, fishing, hunting and gathering from the forest and occasional wage labour. However, their resource base is under threat from unsustainable practices like large-scale cattle ranching, logging operations and petroleum and mineral exploration.
Mosquitia Pawisa Agency for the Development of the Honduras Mosquitia (MOPAWI) has been working with the community groups to ensure the ecological sustainability and improve livelihoods for the last fifteen years. The agency facilitates the co-development of people and the resources with local participation. MOPAWI main objectives are: Indigenous and Afro-honduran collective territorial rights; Poverty Reduction; and Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage.
The four main project areas are:
- Titling of Miskitu territories
- Food (Livelihoods) Security and Landscape Restoration. At the Rio Platano World Heritage and Kruta-Karataska Watershed within the Muskitia region
- Water & Sanitation Security within the Muskitia region.
- Adaptation to Climate Change within the Muskitia region.
For example, in the Mocorn zone, MOPAWI has supported and trained communities in the use of 68000 hectares of forestland allocated to them by the government. It helped people prepare a management plan for 3500 hectares of pine forest and 14500 hectares of broadleaved forest. Likewise, it has supported a protection programme for marine turtles where people patrol the beach, protect and monitor the nests until the baby turtles are born. MOPAWA supports a butterfly farm, which is used to export butterflies to zoos and museums in USA. It runs environmental education programmes on the three biosphere reserves of the region. Simultaneously, MOPAWA has promoted sustainable agriculture and agro forestry practices for improving the livelihoods. These communities are provided with technical assistance on agro industrial crops, plantains and bananas, basic grains and family garden plots. These activities have improved food security and improved nutrition through cultivation of vegetables. The cultivation of organic cocoa constitutes the only source of income for 600 families. More than 100 people have been trained in ecotourism activities, which can provide alternative sources of income. Under a credit and micro enterprise programme, women have been provided loans through eight village banks, and established their own small businesses like butcher shops and sale of clothing and mosquito nets. MOPAWI's interventions have benefited over 1000 families of the region and endangered species like the giant loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, green iguana and butterflies are being protected by the local people.