In 2015, SACD established The Community Researcher Programme, aimed at providing structure to the Internship component of the SACD Volunteer and Internship Programme (VIP) increasing the present and future local human capacity for research and monitoring of conservation targets, and strengthening the Research and Monitoring Sub-Programme and increasing the participation of youth members in management and stewardship of the biodiversity of CBWS.
The Community Researcher Programme trains a cohort of community researchers (CRs) and engages them in on-going research and monitoring activities in CBWS. The main focus of the programme is to build capacity and encourage active participation of the CRs in the management of their local protected area. To date, the CRs have participated in gathering data in a number of key monitoring areas:
- Catch monitoring of the local fishery
- Water quality monitoring
- Mapping of benthic vegetation
- Mangroves and coastal vegetation
- Monitoring of Antillean manatees in CBWS
- Bird surveys