West New Britain, Papua New Guinea


Photographer: Jürgen Freund

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition)

On the north coast of Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain province, Lorna Romaso (right) takes a group of students from a local high school snorkelling along a reef. Although the students come from nearby coastal villages, most know little about the underwater world of the sea on their doorsteps. On snorkelling and boat trips to reefs, the students find out about both the abundance of life in this environment and its fragility. Lorna’s course is run by Mahonia Na Dari, a non-governmental organisation whose name means “guardian of the sea” in the local Bakovi language. Mahonia Na Dari has been running programmes like this since 1997. Classes of up to twenty students spend their mornings in a classroom, then move to snorkelling in the sea in the afternoons. The students learn about reef biology, environmental issues, how to protect marine ecosystems and the importance of marine resource management.