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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mangrove Action Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Forest Conservation, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Target demographics: conserve and restore mangroves

Geographic areas served: the Pacific Northwest, Southeast Asia and Central and South America

Programs: community-based ecological mangrove restoration (CBEMR), CBEMR training, mangrove education, and the Question Your Shrimp campaign.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 4

I have been involved with the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) since it was founded over two decades ago. Although MAP is a small organization with limited funding, MAP has certainly had a considerable impact on the issues that it has engaged with. If it had more funding, it would have been able to do much more. It never wastes money, and its director has proven to be very ethical. He pays himself very little, and he never puts himself first. MAP has had much more influence than its funding would indicate. Money donated to MAP is certainly money well spent. Nothing is wasted. In addition, MAP has concentrated on pushing the right causes. It has not only been on the side of environmental protection. It has also been on the side of local people living in mangrove areas, and this is crucial. It is on the side of the disadvantaged small-scale fishers. It is a friend of small organizations on the ground around the world. It has always fought for equality and fairness. The only problem has been its limited financial resources. It hasn't sold out, and MAP definitely deserves out support.

Fiona3

Board Member

Rating: 5

MAP is a unique non-profit in its focus on human-environment interactions, a very geographical concept that embodies social justice issues in its environmental agenda. It has a global reach and is well-respected by the grassroots organizations with which it interacts. In addition to maintaining a world-wide network of mangrove non-profits through its newsletter, MAP produces a charming and lovely calendar every year of children's art related to mangroves. While it is engaged with climate change, MAP does not compromise its belief in ecological restoration rather than photogenic 'quick fixes' unfortunately too common. As such, it has been influential in promoting working with nature, not against it, in the international policy arena. It is still far too small an organization for the gargantuan task of keeping mangroves functional world-wide, but engages others, especially K-12, in the task through its enormously sought-after Education Curriculum.

Board Member

Rating: 4

Sharing ourexperiences on mangroves forest destruction with Mr. Afredo Quato in Trang province Thailand for over two decades. Later Mangrove Action Project was formed and growing recognized globally.
Map plays active roles in protecting mangrove forest, fighting against coastal fishers discrimination, as well as information dissemination to awake people to cooperate in saving mangroves and protect the rights of poor coastal fishers.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mangrove Action Project has for the past ten years led international efforts to highlight the ecological importance of mangrove forests, and oppose threats to these forests. What is particularly important about MAP, compared to many US-based conservation organizations, is that they take a very strong community-oriented approach--they see the people who live with and use mangrove resources as part of the solution, not the problem. Although I don't know the details of how they interact with allied groups around the world, I sense that it is this community-oriented approach that has enabled them to take a vital leadership role in a network of global south organizations. Finally, where they might be most visible, especially for me given my work on certification in industrial agriculture, is the way they have stayed outside of these certification efforts to criticize and hold the organizations promoting these efforts to account. The work of MAP and its networks is in good part responsible for the way that the most recent certification efforts among industry and large environmental groups have included provisions in their standards for community consultation and input. In my world, MAP has been a leading and strong voice in defense of mangroves and mangrove-based communities for the past ten years, and certainly deserves this award.

Advisor

Rating: 5

My mangrove journey started with volunteering with MAP, and taking their training. It's gone through working for the Thai team as a paid consultant, friend of Jim and Ning's, and now an advisory board member. Their enthusiasm and professionalism has been a constant inspiration, helping me to stay in the Thailand when my own job was not working out. Encouraging me to take a PhD in mangrove conservation despite the challenges. MAP is a lean, passionate, dedicated NGO, which sticks to its knitting. Bravo, chaps.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Looking for a direction after too much time in advertising, Jim, MAP and the training session he ran in India in 2005 helped all the pieces drop into place. It literally changed my life. In less than a year I closed my business in the UK and moved to Thailand to work with Wetlands International, but in the same mangrove area as MAP. MAP is how small NGOs should be: passionate, very well informed, very well connected,sticks to its knitting, whippet-lean and efficient. It's the only NGO that tries to take the tens of thousands of scientific papers on mangroves and mangrove restoration and give this information, in an appropriate form, to local people and NGOs who need it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with MAP in Thailand at their Asia office for a little over a month now, and words can't describe the level of dedication and hard work I see every day. From mangrove restoration projects with large NGOs and local communities to community building along the west coast, the staff at MAP are committed to working at their highest capacity to do what works to conserve mangrove ecosystems. Their approach to restoration, working with nature, termed ecological mangrove restoration just makes sense. This approach takes into account the conditions of the site and provides a kick-start for the ecosystem to regenerate itself. When undertaking conservation work it is important to consider the local conditions and doing what works. The MAP staff know what works, and spend the time themselves undertaking these initiatives. I hope this review helps to bring attention to the great work being done in this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mangrove Action Project (MAP) has been working with coastal communities for a number of years. Through my association with them I have had the opportunity to work closely with an island community on local conservation issues in southern Thailand. The people at the MAP Asia office have been working very hard and are very productive. However, it remains a recurring question how that high level of performance can be maintained with limited resources, especially the limited support for salaries.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I came back to the United States from Kenya in 1998, after working for several years as a project leader for the World Wildlife Fund on a marine conservation project there, the Mangrove Action Project was the single non-profit I found that was working at the grassroots level on issues of global mangrove conservation. They still are. They are an amazing resource - serving as a conduit between people, local people from all over the world and non-profit conservation personnel, and the wider public. The give voice, through their website and newletters, to issues and stories confronting mangrove forests and people that depend upon them that would never be carried by larger NGOs or the mainstream media. The head of MAP and his small group of core staff and volunteers work tirelessly to bring together information about new and immediate crises, ongoing challenges, and conservation success stories that concern the world's mangroves. They promote education, both locally and internationally, raising people's awareness about the fundamental services and vital products that mangrove forests provide, including the production of an annual international children's mangrove calendar, and a curriculum guide about mangroves for use by educators. They developed a toolkit for local users, people living in and around the world's mangroves, to help foster sustainable use of these vital resources. And consistently they bring together local users of managrove forests and other stakeholders in forums that promote dialogue and foster mutual understanding. I cannot imagine a more diligent group of people working to bring together local people to help solve their own natural resource challenges while also highlighting the impact of larger international pressures on the forest resources that collectively concern the international public, such as trawling, shrimp farming and coastal development. MAP has single-handedly done more, in my own opinion, to champion the need for global mangrove conservation than any of the huge international conservation NGOs and done so working out of a tiny office in Port Angeles, Washington with a handful of staff and volunteers. They deserve all the support they can get!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with friends from the Mangrove Action Project now for about 18 months. Their work addresses the real issues on the ground, and they are embedded and support their programs for the long-term. Mangrove restoration is a notoriously failing field - what impresses me about MAP is a real appreciation for science and ecological knowledge to make their work a success, while framed within a strong local community conservation view. This is truly novel and interdisciplinary, and differentiates MAP from most other mangrove restoration and community NGOs. For my own work, MAP have always been supportive and helpful beyond the call of duty. There is one particular thing I would like to highlight. In August 2011 MAP Thailand organized a novel and thought-provoking workshop, involving academics from Thailand, Australia and Singapore, local NGOs from Thailand and the region, international NGOs, local and regional government, and local villagers and fishermen. I have never participated in such a wide-ranging, holistic grouping. I have never had the opportunity to discuss mangrove conservation with such a varied group of stakeholders, and probably never will again, but MAP had the trust of everyone in that room to facilitate such a novel event - and coastal management can only be successful with such an approach. Several other collaborations have come from this, which I hope will further enhance mangrove restoration in the region. MAP is a great catalyst for coastal conservation - there are several aspects of MAP that should be serving as role models for other environmental NGOs in the region.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 1996, I made all the field organizing and transportation arrangements and then co-led a two week mangrove replanting project to the coastal island of Muisne in Ecuador, sponsored by the Mangrove Action Project. Our group numbered 12 or 14 participants from the United States. We collaborated with a local NGO to replant mangrove 'propagules' in areas that had been ecologically destroyed by improperly maintained shrimp farms. We succeeded in replanting several hectares during our time there. In 1997 I participated in another mangrove replanting project in southern Thailand. Ever since then, I have been a constant supporter and donor to the Mangrove Project. I recommend this organization highly.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I know MAP since I learned Mangrove Restoration Techniques since 2005. MAP has been doing great non profit work with available facilities and with great number of volunteers. The techniques that I learn from MAP, has established successful mangrove restoration in my region. Mangrove Action Project is also organizing and technically supporting several small non profit organizations across the world. I have visited their field sites, villages and office in Thailand that showed how they are strongly connected with their commitments, community and mangroves. I respect their effort of making great differences in mangrove conservation and restoration especially in the remote parts of developing countries. MAP's key strength is volunteers and networking with great enthusiasm and generous communication support. MAP has been making platform for several mangrove conservationists and coastal managers through Ecological Mangrove Restoration Group. My best wishes for their more achievements to restore the degraded mangroves and associated livelihoods.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have served the Mangrove Action Project as an advisor and colleague for twenty years, since MAP was founded. I am a professor of rural sociology with nearly 40 years of experience in coastal fishing and aquaculture in Asia and Latin America. To me, MAP plays an essential role in drawing attention to the issues faced by coastal residents in the tropics, and does so by highlighting the intimate relationship between people and mangrove around the world. Other groups which share these concerns have come and gone, but MAP has been in the field for two decades. By this I mean that MAP has a presence, works with people and mangroves, engages people in restoration and appreciation. Their calendars featuring children's art on mangrove themes are simultaneously beautiful and poignant. MAP is an essential clearinghouse for information, publishing weekly MAP News from around the world. I am proud to support MAP and believe MAP is deserving of recognition as a Great Non-Profit. Conner Bailey, Professor of Rural Sociology and Immediate Past-President, Rural Sociological Society, Auburn University, AL 36849-5406 USA.

Advisor

Rating: 5

My name is Donnapat Tamornsuwan. I’m an ecologist with particular in applied wetlands conservation and natural resource management in South of Thailand where I have been working for 10 years. I have been involved in conservation projects in Thailand including development projects for the responsible use of natural resources, biodiversity assessments, and promoting community participation in conservation projects and several major projects in Krabi and Trang provinces. I join MAP work with Ecological Mangrove Restoration project in Krabi. This project can help local people to understand, how to planting mangrove and get high survival rate.

SharnaUK

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with the Mangrove Action Project in Thailand far exceeded my expectations. MAP gave me a fantastic opportunity to develop my professional skills, gain experience of working in conservation and discover Thailand. Being part of a small, dedicated team enabled me to get involved in a variety of activities and gain a full understanding of the importance of the organisation’s work. My
work was split between the office and the field where I assisted with identifying funding opportunities, applying for grants and producing information materials on sustainable mangrove products. I also got the opportunity to work on Koh Phra Thong with mangrove communities assisting partner organisations with conservation projects and understanding how MAP could assist further in the future.

MAP provides a network for local and international organisations working in mangrove forest and wetland conservation. On several occasions we met and worked with other groups which gave me an insight into the importance of knowledge sharing and collaboration.

My time with MAP was made unforgettable by the warm welcome and support I was given by the team. I not only had an amazing working experience but MAP opened up my eyes to Thailand - the food was incredible and there was not shortage of interesting people to meet. An unforgettable experience that I would not hesitate to recommend and only wish I could repeat!

1 Valli S.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I work for Mangrove Action Project (MAP), www.mangroveactionproject.org, specifically on our Question Your Shrimp campaign. I have found that most people are not aware of the ecological harm industrial shrimp farming in the global south is doing to the whole planet. Once they become knowledgable of the issues they are more than willing to sign our pledge to reduce their consumpsion of shrimp and only eat shrimp that is sustainably harvested in North America. They also say they will spread the word.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Coming from an enormous international NGO to MAP a few months ago was a big change. MAP is incredibly pro-active compared to their size and resources, yet volunteering with them is adding a healthy smoother rhythm to my life. They work in harmony with nature: non-stop, persistently, but coherently with life. They respect and conserve not only the natural resources, but also people, both the local community and all of us that contribute to MAP's work. I feel many conservationist have still a lot to learn from MAP when it comes to considering how important it is to take into account humans and their needs at all levels.

1 Shannon17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mangrove Action Project works tirelessly to preserve imperative mangrove wetland forests and support the sustainable livelihoods of traditional coastal residents. They're consistently working with local villages as well as local, national, and international nonprofits, nongovernmental, and relavant governmental organizations. The connections made with fisherfolk and their families, University students, and nonprofit members were educational and enlightening in the intricacies of managing this precious resource. The Thailand office welcomed me as family and were prepared to answer any and all questions about mangrove science and Asia-specific management issues. Their impact in Thailand is vast and their commitment impressive. With globally dispersed offices, MAP's overall commitment to betterment of the life of coastal people and the preservation of mangroves and the diversity of life that they support is unparalelled.

Donor

Rating: 5

Each dollar spent goes a long way with the Mangrove Action Project, as they work with individuals in the field and have a large and diverse web of contacts that produces results.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with MAP in Thailand, I learned an incredible amount about mangrove conservation and the valuable work that is occurring on the ground everyday to strengthen coastal communities' ability to protect their environment and, ultimately, their future. Over the years, MAP has shown a clear dedication to supporting local communities in their efforts to protect their environment by playing a key role in networking government agencies and large international NGO's around the world. A simple search online regarding the terms 'mangrove conservation' reveals MAP at the top of the list. Overall my experience at MAP played a key role in informing my later independent research at Yale and other institutes.