Mālama I Ke Kai: Community Action Guide

Story from Emily Fielding (The Nature Conservancy and CCNet Pacific Islands co-leader)

In September 2020, the Maui Nui Makai Network will launch the Malama I Ke Kai: Community Action Guide to empower coastal communities to engage in the management of ocean resources. The Network’s mission is to protect and restore coastal and marine ecosystems in ways that honor and perpetuate local Hawaiian traditions, customs, and knowledge while embracing scientific insight.  

The Guide brings together the Conservation Standards and Healthy Country Planning, adapted for use in Hawaiʻi, and provides step-by-step guidance to help community groups organize, develop, and implement “community action plans” for coastal and ocean resource management. The participatory activities and best practices are based on Network experiences and those of colleagues from across the Pacific. The Guide serves as both a facilitator and participant workbook; however, community groups are still encouraged to seek the guidance of trained conservation coaches.  

This effort represents a culmination of over 10 years of work with coastal communities in Hawaiʻi. We share this Guide in hopes that it will be a useful tool in other communities hoping to develop culturally relevant, highly participatory plans that are focused makai, or toward the sea.

Below you can watch a video shared by the Maui Nui Makai Network, where participants who were part of the Malama I Ke Kai workshops reflect on their experience.

A community group works on the participatory mapping activity. Photo by the Maui Nui Makai Network

The Network convened new community groups from east Maui to conduct a training in the Mālama I Ke Kai: Community Action Guide. Photo by the Maui Nui Makai Network