MALDIVES: Stakeholder Engagement at Kaafu Maafushi, Maldives

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Project PROMISE Maldives Partners from Parley conducted a Stakeholder Engagement event at Kaafu Maafushi on 21st September 2021.  The meeting was held with the local government authorities and guesthouse owners and operators. Maafushi has almost 50 guesthouses, and a staggering total of over 1300 tourist beds on the island.

The team first met with the newly elected Maafushi Council to introduce the PROMISE Project and the Maldivian partners involved in it.

The Council President expressed his gratitude for the timely visit and enlightened the team about the unique issues faced in Maafushi due to the high number of guesthouses. He also stated that the local community and all the private enterprises on the island were very cooperative and committed towards making Maafushi a role model community for best practices in local tourism in the Maldives. Several potential programs were discussed for implementation and the Council stated their readiness to facilitate these. Follow-up meetings are planned to keep the Council engaged.

A second meeting was held in Maafushi at the Kaani Grand Hotel convention hall with Maafushi Guesthouse owners and operators. A total of 6 hotels, including the two major hotel properties on Maafushi, as well as several micro and small enterprises were represented.  The meeting was also attended by Maafushi Women’s Development Committee, Maafushi School and Maafushi Council members.

Shaahina Ali introduced the attendees to Parley and highlighted the urgency of the plastic waste issue for the environment. Project Manager Sham’aa Hameed presented an information session on the PROMISE Project goals and proposed activities. This was followed by an engaging discussion on the issues faced by Maafushi guesthouses on the matter of marine litter.

The attendees expressed their enthusiasm to participate in the project and gave assurance of their full cooperation. The attending 6 hotels submitted their application forms before the conclusion of the meeting. The Maafushi Council President also stated that the council would be conducting one-to-one meetings with those guesthouse owners and operators who were unable to join the meeting to encourage their participation in the Project.

The stakeholder engagement meetings were concluded with plans to revisit Maafushi island to conduct information sessions for individual guesthouses and start the initial audits for the Project.