The Connect Chagos project was designed and lead by ZSL to engage with Chagossian communities based in the UK in order to increase environmental awareness and to contribute to the conservation of the Chagos Archipelago.
Staff from ZSL's Connect Chagos project worked in Crawley and Manchester, hosting events such as environmental open days and tailored sessions to actively engage with the community and to increase awareness of the extraordinary environment of the archipelago.
Each summer an environmental training course was run, in partnership with many conservation organisations, which covered a variety of nature-related topics from bird monitoring, habitat management and marine conservation. Individuals who successfully completed the training course were then invited to apply for bursaries to fund advanced training and to join a scientific expedition to the Chagos Archipelago.
From 2012 – 2015 the project actively engaged with >700 community members from Crawley and Manchester. Forty two ambassadors completed the environmental training course, 19 of which went on to carry out advanced training which included chainsaw training and gaining SCUBA diving qualifications. Seven ambassadors have joined scientific expeditions and one individual has recently represented the community at a “Big Oceans” meeting in Hawaii.
Funders: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Chagos Conservation Trust, Darwin Initiative.
Partners & Supporters: Bangor University, RSPB, RGB Kew, Manchester Museum, Blue Ventures, Yu Diving, London School of Diving, The Deep Aquarium, The Horniman Museum, City of London, The Ness Botanical Gardens, Natural England, Sayers Croft.