When in 2011 in Mauritania Antonio introduced me to Sidi Ely and Sidi Cheikh, I learned that both men shared a dream: to build an observatory for the children of Iwik.
You should know that Iwik is one of the nine villages situated in the National Park Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, a major reproductive site for birds in Africa and a perfect shelter for European migratory birds. Tourists from all other the world visit the PNBA to observe the migratory birds, but the children living in the Park don’t know much about their environment and the different species of birds.
That’s why Sidi Ely and Sidi Cheikh - both men are fathers - decided to join forces to construct a bird observatory to reach out to the young people of Iwik. “The young people become the guardians of the Park tomorrow” they say.
Today, with the help of the Ecofund’s community, friends from Germany, Senegal, Poland, France, ... as well as the Association of Friends of the Banc d’Arguin, the National Park’s Administration (thanks to its Director Mr. Diagana) and the FIBA, today Sidi Ely’s and Sidi Cheikh’s dream has become reality.
And you are part of this success story. Enjoy the photos!
Here is our champion, Sidi Ely, Chairman of the Association of Friends of the Banc d’Arguin, receiving October 9th the binoculars and the telescope for the birds observatory in Iwik.
Many thanks to all supporters of the project !
On my return to Iwik on the 4th October, I had an opportunity to receive the binoculars and the telescope which you had sent us.
The PNBA has taken care of the customs procedures and the Park agents gave me the box as you can see on the photos below.
I am very happy, because now we can really implement the birdwatching activities in Iwik.
On behalf of the Association of the Friends of Banc d'Arguin, I would like to sincerely thank the Ecofund community and all the people who have given us their support.
Sidi Ely, Chairman Association des Amis du Banc d’Arguin (AABA)
Good news! Thanks to your donations, we were able to buy as planned the binoculars and one telescope for the bird’s observatory in Iwik!
We are glad to inform you that the equipment has been shipped to Nouakchott. The FIBA, our ecopartner for Sidi’s project, is now taking care of the customs procedures.
At the same time, the German painter, Christopher Schmidt, works on posters for the birds observatory. They will inform the tourists and in particular the young imraguen on their exceptional natural heritage.
We will keep you informed!
Two weeks ago, our Champion Sidi and members of his Association "Friends of the National Parc Banc d'Arguin" have decided about the location of the future birds observatory in Iwik. Here are the google earth links for you to visit the location:
19°53'56"N and 16°18'30"W
The construction work shall begin during the summer. We hope that the observatory will be ready for the summer camp “Discovering landscapes of Banc d’Arguin” organized by Sidi’s Association and his partners, la FIBA and the National Parc Administration. The participants are kids (5 girls and 5 boys) form Imraguen villages in the Parc. The observatory plays a fundamental role for the discovery of the richness of the PNBA.
We’ll keep you informed …
The National Park of Banc d'Arguin (PNBA) in Mauritania appreciates your efforts for the protection of its birds!
In addition to the 1,575 euros raised on Ecofund until the deadline of 31st March, which represents 20% of the total ecoproject’s costs, the PNBA has decided to fund the remaining 80%. So, PNBA’s contribution will allow for the construction of the bird’s observatory in Iwik, while your donations will finance the equipment: binoculars and educational bird posters. The fundraising target amount has been adapted respectively. Thus, the ecoproject has received the full funding.
On behalf of Sidi Ely and Sidi Cheikh, and on behalf of the children of Iwik, we would like to thank you!
Soon, the young people of the Iwik village will have the “tools and means” (see picture below) to know and differentiate the different species of birds and better help them to protect and appreciate this exceptional natural heritage.
You make it happen!!!
In the coming updates we will inform you step by step about the construction of the birds’ observatory. Follow the updates!
I just came back from the National Parc Banc d’Aguin, where I guided an expedition of Dutch scientists. On our journey through the Parc we studied the evolution of the amphibian seagrass beds of „Zostera noltii“.
Below you will find some pictures from our expedition. Enjoy it!
Your Sidi Cheikh
Good news! A tourist from New Zealand has offered the camp in Iwik equipment for wind power as well as a small pump to desalinate seawater and allow us to plant vegetables on site. That way, we don’t have to travel 300kms to Nouakchott to buy some anymore!
I am currently trying to find ways to recycle the waste we collect during beach cleanings. Along with women and kids, we are for instance recycling tin cans by turning them into ashtrays or decorative objects that we sell to tourists.
Like every month, I organized on October 8th a day of village and beach cleaning in Iwik. Ecoguides, students, fishermen, women ... all in all, we were about fifty people collecting plastic bottles and plastic bags, used nets, batteries, tin cans: we managed to clean up from this waste the southern part of the beach!
This week, I will -Inshallah – go on a field mission to the village of Mamghar, situated at the far south of the Park. Next to Mamghar there are 3 worldwide recognized major refuge and reproductive sites for migratory birds. This is due to its rich marine ecosystem, the presence of mangrove and other species specific to brackish waters. The 3 sites are El Aîn, Eiznaya et Cap Timiris. The latter is built on shells of anthropic origins. It offers an excellent field for archaeologists and tourists willing to know more about the history of Neolithic and of human presence on the Coast of Mauritania. Photo by Hellio & Van Ingen
The National Park of Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania is a major reproductive site for birds in Africa and a perfect shelter for European migratory birds: more than 6 million birds cross the Park during migration and more than 2 million of those spend an entire winter there.
Sidi, project champion, along with his association Friends of the Park, has long invested in the protection and sustainable management of this natural heritage. Today, Sidi is looking to install two bird observatories in the Park to help local populations, in particular young people, to better understand and appreciate this exceptional natural environment. This is the reason why he is building two observatories next to the primary school in his village, Iwik, one of the nine villages situated in the park.
“Such an action would also help increase ecotourism while increasing the value of this national legacy. This project allows for the saving of an important local and global (because of the migratory birds) natural heritage, while also benefitting local economies.” Sidi Ely
Sidi Cheikh is the Geomatician of the National Park Banc d’Arguin. He travels often to the Park to familiarize himself with and map its expanse. “The installation of the bird observatories is important in order to define littoral and maritime reserves and sanctuaries, which are fundamental for the protection of the Banc d’Arguin's biodiversity. The observatories will also serve as important reference points for Park rangers”. Sidi Cheikh