On the 3rd semester of the master programme Environmental Management and Sustainability Science I got the opportunity to travel to Zanzibar for my internship. This was an incredible experience in terms of research, travelling, and personal development.
When I arrived I was welcomed by the director of the host company who was helpful with practical arrangements such as accommodation, advices, etc. Together we agreed on a topic for my research in Zanzibar and in that way he helped ensure the relevance of my research for the local society. We quickly decided that more research on coastal livelihoods was relevant for the future work towards sustainable livelihoods in Zanzibar. Coastal livelihoods are among other things severely threatened by overfishing.
I applied the theoretical framework “Sustainable Livelihood Approach” to communities around one of Zanzibar’s marine conservation areas. This was done in order to assess the communities’ vulnerability to the on-going degradation of the coral reefs. During my research I interviewed several relevant stakeholders in Zanzibar including top leaders of different departments of the Government. The contacts to these stakeholders were provided by the host-company. Based on my research, I came up with recommendations on how to ensure better quality of life for the population in Zanzibar’s coastal areas in the future.
During my internship in Zanzibar I did not only develop my academic skills. I also grew personally by up first-hand experience with the increasing challenges among the world’s poor population. Living and functioning in a completely different cultural setting like Zanzibar improved my understanding of the local people’s values and dreams, which for me was an unforgettable lesson in life.