World NGO Day – The Reef-World Foundation
For World NGO Day, we want to celebrate the efforts and achievements of NGOs across the marine and diving industry. We caught up with the director of the Reef-World Foundation, Anne Paranjoti, to find out what inspired her to start this incredible charity. Since 1999, Reef-World has supported governments and communities in sustainable consumption and production of coastal resources and marine life.
What inspired you start The Reef-World Foundation?
Twenty years ago, after six years working with businesses in the dive industry in Thailand, and volunteering time to work with local communities and schools, I saw the need to offer local people an opportunity to be part of long-term conservation plans. Local communities were not empowered to become part of initiatives of government, the United Nations and International NGOs and very often weren’t aware of them. The Reef-World Foundation was launched to help bridge that gap.
What are the key issues your organisation is tackling?
Threats to coral reef health. Coral reefs are fragile living structures that we depend upon for fish & seafood, coastal protection, biodiversity and an opportunity to positively interact with nature as visitors. The Green Fins programme, managed internationally by Reef-World, helps to protect reefs through environmentally friendly diving and snorkeling practices.
What are you most proud of achieving through the charity?
The scope and scale of our global network and activity, along with inspiring all sorts of people, from all sorts of backgrounds to find their own ways to become involved. I’m proud of the achievements of a small lean team, achieving high impact, both in an international arena as well as embracing and empowering keen individuals in local communities through Green Fins and other programmes.
What are your future plans for The Reef-World Foundation?
Continuing to develop Green Fins to promote sustainable diving, and other Reef-World programmes able to help many people to get involved with reef and coastal conservation.
How can people get involved?
Go to reef-world.org and greenfins.net. For those going on dive holidays, choose Green Fins dive & liveaboard operators. For those living by the coast near a reef, get in touch with local Green Fins operators or local conservation groups. For everyone, do something, however small or massive, to help an NGO that inspires you.
We have recently collaborated with The Reef-World Foundation to develop our 2020 roadmap towards sustainability and have outlined our 10-year strategy to become greener.