Alex Zachariah Chaligne, originally from Kerala, India, received his Bachelors from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and has recently graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Natural Resource Institute with a Masters in Natural Resource Management.
Under the guidance of Dr. Fikret Berkes, Alex’s research took him to Odisha, India, where he explored the conservation, livelihood, and gender challenges faced by local communities and, in particular, the Samudram Women’s Federation (SWF). Supporting 38,000 small-scale fishers, Odisha is one of the poorest states in India. The depletion of marine resources, annual cyclones and poverty cycles have forced many fishers to rely on illegal moneylenders and local traders, resulting in further indebtedness. Alex’s research provided him with the opportunity to see how the SWF is responding to the conservation and livelihood challenges they are facing, and how they monitor and protect the endangered olive ridley turtles through habitat restoration, artificial reef construction and sustainable fishing practices.
Alex’s passion for experiencing culture and supporting local communities has led him to become the owner of Travel to Discover (www.traveltodiscover.org) which works with local communities to help people travel around the world in a socially, environmentally and economically responsible way.