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Blue Angel

Global Digital Platform creating a new way to manage Marine Protected Areas with sustainable communities, green energy and entrepreneurship.

Photo of Raisa Mar
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Blue Angels is a way for Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in a country to have a steady source of income through funding from a renewable energy source. Connecting regional entities protecting the ocean with each other and with funding we can create better protection of marine biodiversity in a country. We know the importance of including all stakeholders equally in all processes. The online platform will include data concerning marine protected areas of the country presented in a way that everyone can understand and get involved. They can volunteer to protect whales, beach clean ups, turtle hatchings, lion fish hunts, coral reef assessments, be informed about the state of the ocean in their countries and other ocean initiatives. Serving also as a communication platform where citizens of a country can communicate with each other in matters concerning the ocean and also be connected to all the related entities protecting the ocean of their country in one place. We are excited to begin in our country Panama, which has both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. We are committed to expanding the MPA online database and communication platform globally. We will also implement the green energy funding method for MPA's in other countries after running a successful pilot program in Panama which includes a community shift from harming the oceans to protecting them through education.

Explain your idea

Implement new MPA management funding through green energy funds. Create an Information Platform for connection of MPA managers with each other and with stakeholders including regular citizen science and volunteers. One of the biggest challenges Marine Protected Areas face is obtaining proper funding to implement the area’s conservation strategy. Minimum budgets create difficulty when trying to protect such vast marine expanses. Bad fishing practices, overfishing, ocean acidification, and human activity have made marine species decline by 90%. By providing a sustainable source of funding for the implementation of the conservation strategy we can guarantee that these special hope spots continue to thrive for future generations. Working with communities to create a shift in their relationship with the ocean through community improvement and micro entrepreneurship. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Oceans serve as the world largest source of protein and represents the main food source for over 2,5 billion people. Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people. Oceans make up 97% of the Earth water and absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans on the earth. The only way to keep on benefiting from oceans’ resources is to respect them.

Who Benefits?

The main beneficiary would be Marine Protected Areas, organizations their Biodiversity and oceanic ecosystems benefiting from protection. People in the community also benefit; they will be taught to respect the ocean and obtain their livelihood in ways that coexist with the ocean. By providing the entire community, including the fishermen, with micro-entrepreneurship workshops, mentorships and opportunities to go after a new career different than fishing or harmful ocean practices we empower them to create a positive impact within the community that will benefit them all. This method has proven effective in other countries where previous whale hunters, shark fining and fishermen become tour operators or partake in new commercial activities often related to the tourism the conservation of the marine species provides the area or in new areas. We would begin the pilot program in Panama and then expand on to implementing these methods in other marine protected areas around the world

How is your idea unique?

Marine Protected Areas funded through green energy. Existing marine protected areas function in a method in which foundations or governments act as custodians to the space. Depending on government or donations often the needed quotas are not met and the area is not 100% protected. What we propose differently is that the marine protected areas of a country have their own positive cash flow from a renewable energy source such as wind turbines or solar panels so that marine protected areas could manage themselves efficiently. Marine conservation is at a critical stage, quoting the famous Oceanographer Sylvia Earle: “Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years”. If marine conservation in the hands of the government is struggling, it is time the citizens of the world propose solutions to conserve our biodiversity.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

Blue Angel is based in Panama and wishes to help in solving one of the most pressing issues of our generation: Sustainable Ocean Conservation. Raisa Mar is Panama’s National Record Freediver. Connected with the ocean she has been scuba diving since she is 15. She is currently traveling around the world swimming with sharks, manta rays, turtles and other marine species in order to understand the threats facing these animals and their ecosystems. Raisa wishes her country and the world to have thriving marine biodiversity. An award winning conservation artist Raisa uses her art to create awareness for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. She collaborates in protecting the environment with foundations such as Marviva, Pew Foundation, Smithsonian. She is a technology developer and successful entrepreneur within the cultural scene and food industry. Lourdes Navarro has been the country representative in Panama for United Nations Entrepreneurship program: EMPRETEC UNCTAD since 2012 and collaborating for the past 20 years. Working to develop communities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominican Republic. She also works through strategic allianzes with foundations such as: Competitiveness of Cultural Entrepreneurship, youthWORK program from the International Youth Foundation, Thunderbird University DreamBuilder Program for women empowerment. Recognized by the department of state of the United States of America as a global female leader for her contributions in women empowerment. In order to solve the problem three areas need to be addressed: 1. Taking care of the marine protected area. 2. Creating a change in mentality within the community to coexist with the ocean and provide for their family through new methods. 3. A sustainable method to continuously fund the MPA. The initial partners compliment each other’s skill sets. Lourdes Navarro has experience in community development she is Founder of CEDE Panama, certificate center of the United Nation (UNCTAD), methodology based in investigations of Harvard and MIT about psychological capital in the entrepreneurs. She provides the structure to the cultural entrepreneurship program. Raisa Mar has experience in ocean conservation and technology. She has strategic allies around the world in regards to the issues Marine Protected Areas with foundations such as the Nature Conservancy, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Forbes, United Nations. She participates with local and international stakeholders in discussions concerning the challenges that organizations and communities face. Having the passion, time and commitment Lourdes and Raisa want to see this idea become a reality. Working for the past two years together in different initiatives they have decided to join and collaborate in this new proposal for GHR Foundation where both of their passions merge.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.


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Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Raisa!

Thank you for sharing Blue Angel with us!

What could you achieve as a 1-3 year project?

How could you fulfil this part of the evaluation criteria - 'You are a certified non-profit or for-profit organization, and have worked in your sector for at least a year'?

Photo of Raisa Mar

Dear Kate,
Thank you for evaluating our proposal. We are a Social Entrepreneurship for profit Organization, focused on providing a real and positive change to communities as they transition into a sustainable relationship with the Ocean and help organizations who work on supporting Marine Protected Areas.

Since 2002 Lourdes has been working with resilience coastal communities on providing them the knowledge, tools and opportunities to become entrepreneurs through the United Nations Empretec program which she leads in Panama. Raisa Mar has been involved in Ocean Conservation, Sustainable Fishing, and Marine Biodiversity since 2011. We have been working together for one year.

We propose an alternative method for providing the necessary economic sustainability that the coastal communities and Marine Protected Areas need in order to transition into an environmentally responsible future.

Through entrepreneurship workshops in the coastal communities we wish to shift the focus from a lifestyle that takes from the ocean to survive into a community that keeps their cultural traditions alive and can support their families with a higher quality of life.

The platform will show the value of Marine Protected Areas and the work that stakeholders are doing in the area in a simple way. Through the webpage, the progress and information of the different protected areas and the communities can be available to the citizens of the world to become involved and also the current global decision makers visualize the positive impact in the areas.

In these moments we have been selected by the Panamanian Presidency to strengthen a program that they are working on with tourism and youth in coastal communities. We have joined them to push forward with implementation of parts of our project. In order to achieve this we will partner with some organizations such as: Empretec UNCTAD, MarViva, SumaRSE, Pew Foundation, International Youth Foundation, The National Mentoring Partnership, MarViva, Sea Shepherd, and others.

We hope this information answers your questions. I will be attaching in the next message what we could be doing with a timeline of three years. Please let us know if any new questions arise.

Kind Regards,
Raisa and Lourdes

Photo of Raisa Mar


First year:
➢ Identify Marine Protected Areas and the stakeholders involved for its protection at a national level
➢ Create an online platform with information on the MPAs and their stakeholders, their characteristics, good practices, opportunities and challenges to facilitate environmental and socio-economic support decisions. Also providing an opportunity for the foundations to connect with citizen science and volunteers to help them in protecting the MPA.
➢ Help the fishing groups and families from vulnerable communities in relations to the MPA, with methodologies proven worldwide to educate, empower and manage cultural microenterprises in coastal areas, as well as to create commercial links and opportunities for them. Https://
The pilot program will be implemented in the Republic of Panama, both on the Pacific Ocean side and in the Caribbean province of Bocas del Toro.
➢ The needs of the identified marine protected areas, communities, stakeholders, will be analyzed to see how much capital is need to efficiently run the protection program.

Second year:
➢ Visualizes cultural microenterprises of families from illegal fishing groups and supports their initial funding, as an interface to sustainable activities that result in an ordering of fishing, tourism and conservation of marine biodiversity.
➢ Mapping indicators of illegal fishing and reports a decrease in the same in the communities intervened with methodologies of management of cultural microenterprises to fisher families.
➢ Progress is made with a strategic alliance of green energy (wind / solar), which will allow the financing for protection factors needed of the MPA and capital for greater production.
➢ The digital platform will be ready and in use in Panama and expanding internationally

Third year:
➢ Visualizes and award indicators of improvement of the MPA and resilient communities.
➢ A Community Protection Club for the LDCs and the Cultural Entrepreneurship is created with a strong focus on fishing communities, women and adolescents.
➢ New green energy form of financing to improve management and promote stakeholder initiatives of the MPA in regards to the funding needs for the protection of the MPAs
➢ After the pilot program with the MPA’s / Community / Green Energy is in effect in Panama we could expand to other International Marine Protected Areas.

Photo of Menzi Mahlobo

- I really like what you are you harvest Sardine, Pilchard or Hake....?

Photo of Raisa Mar

Thank you Menzi!

We do not harvest fish, we support communities to transition into a sustainable relationship with the Ocean while supporting Marine Protected Areas.

We empower women, children and men through education and entrepreneurship to learn how to sustain their families without impacting negatively the environment. We also will provide a way for marine protected areas to be self sustainable in the future and not rely on government for protection.

Thanks for the comment,
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