Exciting news for Jalova hub this month is the start of the National Scholar Program. This program is aimed at developing local people skills, so they can work together with GVI to protect their own region.
Our first scholar, Walter Gonzalez, has been living in Tortuguero for many years, and has worked with Sea Turtle Conservancy for the last two turtle seasons. He is very excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with GVI towards the conservation of Tortuguero National Park, and has been learning all the survey techniques developed in Jalova. The cultural exchange has been beneficial for both volunteers that have been learning Spanish, Caribbean recipes, and the Tico way of life from Walter. Walter meanwhile has been learning new English from his interaction with volunteers and staff alike. Through his experiences here in Jalova, Walter has made friends from all over the world and expanded his opportunities for the future. This is GVI, empowering people to take action through education, cross cultural communication and life changing experiences.
Along with the staff and Walter thirteen new volunteers and interns were trained in Emergency First Responding this month in Jalova. That’s not all that is being learned here in Jalova’s this year, the new volunteers have been learning species identification skills, camera trap techniques, biological survey techniques and community living skills. Some come to Jalova to find out what they want to do in their lives, assist or continue their formal education, and others come simply to try something new in life. Whatever the reason all that come to Jalova learn skills that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for continuing to support this program.
All the best
Program/location: Marine Research/ Tovuto Base, Nanuya Lailai, Yasawa
Date on program (month/year) - 24/08/2013 – 20/09/2013
Why did you choose to do a scholarship with GVI?
I chose to do a scholarship with GVI because of the wide range of training that attached to the programme itself. This includes basic taxonomic for underwater research, compressor training, offsite expedition training and most importantly the Scuba training (Open & Advance Open Water Certification). This is also one way that I can expose and pass my knowledge of conservation to remote areas in the Yasawas through cross-sharing of information.
How did your scholarship help you achieve your personal and professional goals?
As coming from a background of environment conservation, having these training will enhance the work that I am currently doing and exposed to other areas that I have not been visited before which is the underwater world.Since I am also currently in the initial stages of developing my topic, this training can assist me to be fully equipped before getting my topic of interest which is specifically for under water marine related ecological research thesis.
Has your GVI scholarship helped you develop your career and be more employable? Would you recommend your scholarship from a professional and personal development perspective?
As I had stated before, this scholarship fully equipped me in terms of preparation for further studies and as well as trained me to be more vigilant on my career which is actually the environment conservation. Since I have exposed to marine survey before, obtaining scuba training under this programme provides me an opportunity to further the knowledge and skills to certain dive profile with technicalities.In addition, the scholarship provided an opportunity to live independently with limited resources and again motivate us to be more appreciable with whatever given resources on hand to utilize.
To conclude, I would rather recommend this scholarship from both professional & personal development perspective.
How did you get selected for the GVI National Scholarship Program?
I applied for a job and I was offered to take part in the expedition as part of the National Scholarship program
Did the National Scholarship Program offer you opportunities for personal and career development? Please explain.
Yes, definitively. The expedition helped me to improve my English skills and get to know how the GVI expeditions work which gave me a good insight of the International volunteer world and the opportunity to continue to work with GVI and the conservation sector.
What other opportunities or benefits has the National Scholarship Program offered you?
I made life time friends, I got a job that I love!
How have these opportunities shaped your career or improved your future prospects?
After working in different sectors I was looking for a job where I could apply my diverse background and at the same time where I could develop more skills. I was looking to work for an international organization but in my home country, Mexico. And here I am, after 6 years I continue working with GVI!
What are your future career plans?
To continue working with GVI and do a diploma that would help my current professional development.
I am very happy to share with another great story from the field this month. May saw four Seychellois students join the ranks of the GVI volunteers to learn, dive and explore the Seychelles waters, coastline and forests alongside international volunteers.
One of GVI Seychelles aims is to provide in country training and allow local people to become involved with the education and research that GVI conduct. The National Scholarship Programme invites local people over the age of 18 with an interest in marine or terrestrial conservation to join the GVI volunteer team for a four or eight week period.
This month we were lucky enough to have four National Scholars from the University of Seychelles, Danielle, Annabelle, Vicky and Uvicka. All the students are currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Seychelles and joined the GVI Cap Ternay and Curieuse Island expeditions as part of their undergraduate degree ‘Work Based Experience’ scheme.
The National Scholarship programme allowed GVI staff to share their knowledge and training with local students, giving the students first hand field experience and an opportunity to take part in surveys and data collection. In return our Scholars taught us amazing local recipes, Creole phrase of the day and introduced us to more local fruits around base camp than we ever knew existed!
Annabelle who will be specialising in climate change at university, joined the GVI Marine Conservation Expedition at Cap Ternay having never dived before and left as an advanced diver with Coral reef research diver certifications. She said “the dive training was amazing, I have learnt skills I will be able to use in my future career, more Seychellois people should be involved in this!”
Vicky Barbe and Uvicka Bristol joined ten international volunteers on the Curieuse Island terrestrial expedition. Over a four week period the volunteers helped collect vital data on the islands Mangroves and Coco de Mer trees as well as information on the endangered hawksbill turtle nesting population.
All four students excelled in the field passing their exams with top marks and displaying an in depth knowledge of the fauna and flora of the Seychelles. The work based experience was a great success and the students certainly seemed to enjoy the experience.
According to Kelly Bucas, Lecturer and Coordinator at the Faculty of Science in the University “The staff and GVI have been so accommodating and helpful and I can already see a real change in the students”
Capacity building is an important part of GVI’s long term goals enabling local people to gain the relevant training and experience that might not otherwise be available. GVI Seychelles is committed to training more Seychellois in marine and terrestrial monitoring and looks forward to developing a long term partnership with the University of Seychelles.
Another great story from the field on the success of the program. I look forward to sharing another story with you next month from another location!
Thank you for your support as always. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or ideas at email@example.com.
Charitable Trust Manager
Lluvia is from Veracruz, Mexico; she has a degree in Biology from the Autonomous University of Veracruz (UV) and is a PADI qualified Dive Master and EFR provider. Before GVI, Lluvia worked in the north of Mexico with dolphin craneometry, in the south of Mexico with coral growth, and in her home town took part in various environmental education programmes. Lluvia came to GVI Pez Maya as a participant in the National Scholarship Programme in October 2007. After falling in love with the charm of the place and the work GVI does here, she stayed on working with what passionate her most, marine ecosystems.
A friend of mine participated in a GVI programme and she gave the details of where and how to apply. I thought it was a great opportunity as my passion was reef ecosystems. I emailed GVI with my CV and cover letter. After a selection process that GVI does, where they look for people that would be benefit from this programme, I was chosen to participate.
Yes, I did a degree in Biology and had some working experience while I was at University. Doing the scholarship gave me even more experience and allowed me to put in practice all the theory I had learnt at school. Also I acquired new skills on areas that I never thought I would work with.
It gave me the opportunity of developing other areas of knowledge, like getting involved with local communities and knowing how to work with them; also to pursue a job within GVI staff.
After doing the scholarship programme I stayed over as a staff member. That gave me even more knowledge and experience on the field. As well as created new relationship with people alike around the area. My life changed completely, after being an NSP and then staff member I was promoted to base manager. Sometime after this, my experience on field got me the Country Director position, so now I am in charge of the two expeditions we have in Mexico.
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager