TRY Oyster Women’s Association empowers a highly marginalized and economically vulnerable segment of Gambian society. The Association is an established group of 500 female oyster harvesters, with organized leadership, from 15 villages in the Greater Banjul area of The Gambia. It is creating positive change and economic transformation in local villages. Rather than struggling individually, as they once did, women harvesters are now part of a flourishing and widely recognized local enterprise.
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Biodiversity conservation requires balancing trade-offs between biodiversity protection and economic activities. This applies both to protected areas, where the supply of various ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration, water regulation) is seen as an important co-benefit, and not-protected areas, which also contain important elements of global biodiversity.
Integrating local residents – especially poor households, indigenous communities and women – into the protected area economies of the developing world via concessions compensates for losses, alleviates poverty, drives local economic development and builds conservation incentives. Integrating locals is important not only as a principle of natural justice but also on pragmatic grounds.