ex aqua is part of Enactus, an international non-profit organization providing a platform for students to create community development projects with a social entrepreneurship approach. The project focuses on the Toliara region in southwest Madagascar where people suffer heavily from malnutrition.
More than 75% of the population lives below the poverty threshold of $1.9 per day. Additionally, 65% of the coral reefs in the region have died over the past 50 years, and decades of overfishing have decimated the fish stock. As a result, Madagascan fishermen are in need of an additional source of food and income.
Conventional marine bathing sponges are removed from the reef directly, but ex aqua has a sustainable approach to avoid further exploitation of the reef. Ripe sponges are halved and one part is left to regrow. ex aqua empowers fishermen to sustainably grow and harvest sponges and highly nutritious algae in the ocean.
ex aqua’s partner on site is Reef Doctor, a UK-based non-profit organisation that has been conducting conservation as well as social development projects in south-west Madagascar for 15 years. Reef Doctor’s experience provides an immense advantage for ex aqua in terms of regional knowledge, a very familiar contact with the locals, and the trust of the local community.