In the GVI Jalova hub, our first scholar, Walter, has been living with us now for 6 months. He has already been showing many advances, learning English, survey protocols and obtaining his Emergency First Response. He is now starting the Internship Program, which will bring him lifelong skills and experience to fulfill his plans for his future career.
Empowering is one of the key objectives of GVI. With the National Scholarship Program, GVI hopes to give the local community knowledge and power to work towards key global and local issues, including sustainable development and conservation.
Walter, from Nicaragua, has been living in Tortuguero for many years. He has many plans for his future and GVI is playing an important role in it. With this experience, he hopes to be more prepared to continue his studies on an undergraduate level, majoring in biology and conservation.
Our scholar has already developed his skills in many ways. When he first arrived, his knowledge of English language was basic. Now, after 6 months, we can already see an advance in his learning process. The daily living with English speaking volunteers has been pushing him forwards. Besides, staff’s efforts to organize English classes are showing results, as he builds up confidence everyday to speak in a non-native language. Volunteers are also always engaged in this activity: every month we have volunteers to help staff members with his English classes or even just having a conversation in English.
During the last 6 months, Walter has been learning the methods we use for our surveys and also teaching us what he knows. Being raised in Tortuguero, he has a keen eye to spot our local animals, which makes him an invaluable asset in the field. His previous experience working with turtles with Sea Turtle Conservancy also makes him extremely helpful on turtle season. Besides, the cultural exchange he promotes with volunteers is priceless. His Tico rice recipe has already gained reputation on camp and he is always happy to practice and teaching some Spanish. We are happy to see the accomplishment of one of the goals of our National Scholarship Program: the exchange of knowledge between the local community and our staff and volunteers.
On June, Walter achieved another victory. He took the EFR course with the new volunteers. After 3 days of intensive training, theoretical and practical tests, he has learned how to act in emergency situations. Now, after 6 months of initial training and practicing English, he is officially ready to start our Internship Program. Together with other 3 other interns, he will be trained on taxonomy identification, leadership skills, scientific writing and presentations and data analysis. We are excited to take this further step, as this will bring him more experience and knowledge.
It has been many challenges for him: cultural and language barriers, but also a lot of learning. However, Walter has demonstrated enthusiasm and willingness to learn and develop every week. Hopefully this is only the start of a program that will become established for many years to come. This week, we are receiving Luis, Walter’s friend. He has showed interest on our National Scholar Program and wanted to visit us for a week during his holidays. We are already keeping an eye for our next lucky national scholar!
Thank you for supporting this project and we look forward to bringing you more news!
All the best
Marcelle Muniz Barreto, Field Staff