Letter: Cape Verde is a model of biodiversity for West Africa

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I had the pleasure of reading your article in January on the Responsible Business Education Awards 2022. I congratulate the winners for doing such a wonderful job and introducing responsible education to companies around the world, as well as the jury who selected these four eminent young entrepreneurs.

I was particularly pleased that the conservation and educational work of the Maio Biodiversity Foundation – a Cape Verdean conservation NGO – was also recognized.

Maio Biodiversity Foundation (or FMB) was founded in 2009 to protect the wildlife of Maio since at that time no governmental or non-governmental agency represented (or protected) the biodiversity on the island. More threatening was the development seen in other Cape Verdean islands of mass beach tourism which has unfortunately destroyed much of their native wildlife.

I convinced six inhabitants of Maio to create a new NGO, FMB. Three of us played a major role in the launch of FMB: Elvio Rosa (secretary), Andy Hegedus (treasurer) and myself (president). It was officially recognized by the Cape Verdean government in February 2010. I led the FMB until 2018 as president and I am still affiliated with the FMB via two PhD students funded by the University of Bath who research and protect the birds in Maio.

FMB has done marvelous conservation and educational work, winning many prizes, awards and accolades. For many years, we have been the model of successful biodiversity conservation NGOs in West Africa. I am happy to say that one of the laureates, Elisa Dierickx, has been a major contributor to the success of FMB since her arrival in 2011.

We – the past and current leaders of FMB – tried to do the best we could, but in the end the involvement of kind-hearted people from Maio and Cape Verde was essential to achieve the impressive achievements that have been so generously recognized by these awards.

Professor Tamas Székely
University of Bath, UK

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