Community Leadership Program

Mesoamerican Coral Reef

Gulf of California Rocky Reef


Capacity-building of Leaders and Fishing Organizations

OBJECTIVE: To promote human development and generate marine conservation and fishery management agreements, procuring the organization of the coastal fishing sector from the ground up, through collective action.

The Community Leadership Program emerged from the need to join forces to make a real impact on marine conservation and to implement best practices in fisheries. In 2012, COBI conceived the Community Leadership Program, a participatory training program that equips and empowers community leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools to reach marine conservation and fishery management agreements.

In 2013, COBI founded the trailblazing program “Community Leadership Program in the Gulf of California”, in collaboration with the National Commission for Protected Areas and the nonprofit Pronatura Noroeste A.C. In 2014, the first group of 20 leaders graduated, and started proprietary community projects focused on the common good.

The projects developed by these 20 leaders make them agents of change within their fishing communities. In 2015, COBI trained three civil society organizations that work in the region to replicate the Community Leadership Program and magnify its impact in the Gulf of California: Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, Environmental Defense Fund-Mexico, and Ecology Project International. This allowed each organization to support the formation and empowerment of leaders focused on marine conservation and sustainable fishery in various fishing communities in this incredibly diverse region.

The program’s curriculum includes a wide range of subjects, including the ecological and fishing history of the region, business and conflict management, and fishery administration and organization. The Community Leadership Program not only trains and empowers leaders in fishing communities, but it also promotes the creation of a network of agents of change who are trained in modern, flexible techniques.

Both in Mexico and abroad, there is a dearth of local leaders who are engaged in their communities and fight for the common good, promoting social, economic or environmental issues. We want to keep widening the impact of the program by bringing it to other organizations and government institutions.

Thanks to the success of the program, we are currently developing a complementary curriculum for “Advanced Community Leaders,” with a special focus on gender equality. This program seeks to train an equal number of men and women—leaders with proven experience in marine conservation and sustainable fishing—and equip them with all the necessary tools to take their actions to the next level.

  • 1 Community Leadership Program created in 2012
  • 3 civil society organizations trained to carry out and replicate the program
  • 13 women and 25 men trained as community leaders in 18 communities
  • 6 modules in the program curriculum
  • Comisión de Áreas Naturales Protegidas
  • Pronatura Noroeste
  • Environmental Defense Fund México
  • Sociedad de Historia Natual Niparajá
  • Environmental Project International
Diana Alcantar

This project is constantly evolving, and your support is key to making an impact on marine conservation and sustainable fishery. The following list details our current project needs. You can also donate directly to COBI by contacting our donations team: Let’s all do our part!

  • Funding, credits and in-kind donations for productive and educational projects for community leaders
  • Private and public organizations interested in replicating the Community Leadership Program
  • Media interested in highlighting the program’s work
  • Donations and funding to develop the program “Advanced Community Leaders,” focused on gender equality in marine conservation and sustainable fishery projects
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience
Subscribe to Newsletter