Our approach consists mainly in identifying promising young Caribbeans, and providing them with the material, intellectual and technical resources to allow them to embark on a scientific career in the field of conservation biology. We also help them to develop a network of skilled partners. We therefore take action at several levels, in schools and universities. Through these actions, we contribute to raising awareness among young Caribbeans of the challenges linked to the protection of natural resources, and we elicit vocations.
Research & higher education
The projects we develop must meet the following two criteria: contribute to knowledge that is useful to the conservation of biodiversity in the Caribbean islands, and train a young Caribbean scientist to a high level of expertise.
For each project, we try to achieve an optimal balance between these two imperatives. The publication of scientific articles in peer-reviewed international scientific journals based on findings from projects constitutes the primary indicator of their success.
All our conservation projects combine research and university training. Each of our students joins a biological conservation research project which serves as a background for their university training to primary degree, Master’s, or PhD level. The student receives support and backup from confirmed researchers who mentor them in selecting their methodology, as well as in the analysis and exploitation of their results.
Infrastructures for research and population monitoring
The quantity and quality of the infrastructures dedicated to the study and conservation of biodiversity in the Caribbean islands are insufficient. We are working with our partners to facilitate access for Caribbean students and scientists to technical equipment and state-of-the-art methods to allow them to produce reliable data.
Since its creation, Caribaea Initiative has provided students and Caribbean scientists involved in its programmes with access to a range of equipment (telescopes, binoculars, cameras, GPS, sensors to measure water quality, equipment to monitor vertebrate populations by capture-marking-recapture) that is essential for field and laboratory research.
In the future, we wish to develop a network of field stations providing students and Caribbean scientists with the right working conditions to conduct biodiversity inventories, implement programmes to monitor sensitive ecosystems, and develop research on species with a high heritage value.
We contribute to eliciting vocations by developing pedagogical tools to teach the natural sciences in schools. For this ambition, in partnership with the AMAZONA association and KloroFilms, we developed a series of video-clips presenting Caribbean fauna.
We are currently working on producing novel teaching supports for use by students and teachers in middle- and high-schools in the Antilles to illustrate the official teaching programmes relating to biodiversity based on Caribbean island fauna and flora.
We regularly provide our students with specialised training in complement to their university courses. This training can be related to recently developed methods or techniques to study biodiversity, or to general skills such as language courses, project management or writing funding requests.
Caribbean environmental diplomacy
Through a new university programme providing students with double skills in the humanities (international law, political science, geography) and in biological sciences (ecology, evolution, conservation biology), we hope to contribute to the training of current and future Caribbean diplomats specialising in environmental negotiations.
Educational projects: raising awareness about biodiversity protection
Environmental education takes place at all ages. We ask the students whose training we fund to take part in our educational programmes. These programmes were launched to raise awareness of the issues being studied among children, youths and adults.
Funding and accountability
Since its creation, Caribaea Initiative has been supported by the MAVA Foundation. Our other sources of funding include contracts with public and private organizations, private donors and membership fees. We are committed to communicating information about our organization with our members, donors, and partners. Our annual budget is approved by the General Assembly and examined and verified by an independent chartered accounting firm certifying the financial statements of accounts.