Sii Island sits off the south coast of Kenya, close to the border with Tanzania. The island is entirely covered by mangrove forest, and for centuries served as a refuge for the indigenous communities of Vanga and Jimbo during times of war.
Currently, the island’s mangroves provide protection to the nearby fringing reefs, which serve as replenishment and spawning areas for nearly 250 species of fish and 124 coral species. In recent years, the mangroves of Sii Island have been threatened by illegal harvesting of trees, and the surrounding sea is subject to illegal fishing activities such as seine netting and the use of dynamite by fishers from Tanzania.
The villages of Jimbo, Vanga, and Kiwengu propose the protection of the forest through a local organization, VAJIKI (Vanga Jimbo Kiwengu) Community Forest Association. VAJIKI, working with the Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders, will map the island’s mangrove forests and replant some of the degraded areas. In addition, VAJIKI, with the Vanga and Jimbo Beach Management Units, will demarcate other critical habitats, such as coral reefs, in the waters surrounding the island.
Our project partner will conduct community awareness programs to enhance compliance with the regulations on use of the mangrove forests. Finally, VAJIKI will build several watch towers, which will be used as observation points to prevent illegal cutting of mangroves.