||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (February 2016)|
|Motto||Protecting Our Ocean Planet – One Dive at a Time|
|Legal status||not for profit incorporation in Australia, UK and USA|
|Dr. Drew Richardson|
Director, Global Operations
|Tiffany A. Leite|
Project AWARE is a registered nonprofit organization working with volunteer scuba divers. With offices in UK, US and Australia. Project AWARE supports divers acting in their own communities to protect the ocean, with a focus on implementing lasting change in two core areas: shark conservation and marine litter.
In 1989, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) established the Project AWARE Foundation. By 2008, it had become one of the largest (by geographical coverage) of several 'industry led' environmental organizations, with administration offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland and Japan. In 1992, Project AWARE Foundation became a registered nonprofit organization with an environmental mission and purpose. Project AWARE relaunched as a movement in 2011 to help divers in more than 180 countries to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean.
Over the years, Project AWARE, according to its annual reports, has "mobilized" volunteer efforts, such as beach and reef cleaning, coral reef monitoring, shark rallies, and grassroot activism, and marine debris data collection. Project AWARE provides tools and resources to engage the general public, and scuba divers in particular, in activities such as letter writing campaigns, petitions and photo campaigns to pressure governments for greater action on preservation and conservation efforts.
In 2008, Project Aware began working with Reef Check, sharing data about coral reef health. In 2011, the organization relaunched and announced a new focus on the removal of marine debris, encouraging volunteer divers from around the world to actively remove trash from waterways. Project AWARE volunteers collects data through Dive Against Debris, a global citizen science program aimed at encouraging divers to report on locations, types and quantities of litter that they see and remove underwater
Project AWARE's current focus is supporting its movement by providing educational tools and resources that inspire action for ocean protection. These activities include building and engaging a dedicated community of dive leaders and ocean advocates via platforms such as Facebook and My Ocean, Project AWARE’s online eco-network, building and maintaining the first global interactive map on marine debris found on the seabed, providing promotional materials to volunteer organizers of local underwater marine debris surveys, promoting letter-writing campaigns, and joining environmental NGO networks in order to give collective support to member organizations' lobbying efforts. They also work in partnership with PADI dive shops who commit financial support through the 100% AWARE partnership where dive professionals support ocean protection with each student they certify through PADI.
In 2013, the Project Aware Foundation was given a rating of "standards not met," by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, due to the low percentage of revenues spent on direct program expenses, as opposed to administrative spending. The Wise Giving Alliance report also noted a lack of budget oversight and a lack of detailed expense reporting.
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