We have all been affected by COVID-19 in some way shape or form and it has not been easy for the world to adapt to this new way of life. Here in the Seychelles the 1st wave of the virus was not too damaging on the people but unfortunately devastating on the economy as 75% of the country's income is through tourism. Just before this all came to being though, we managed to launch the start of the Marine Scholars Program here in the Seychelles. It has been 1 year in the making with the idea to develop the youth of the Seychelles to step up and help the world through marine conservation and the blue economy.
Let us begin. We have had a scholar’s program in place for a while. It was undeveloped and unrefined. A new partnership emerged between WiseOceans and GVI Seychelles with the aim and objective to develop the younger generation to make that step into the marine conservation world and to create a more sustainable future. This has made it possible to bring in 6 young Seychellois into this newly developed Marine Scholars Program.
The 6 scholars will be placed on a 9 month internship with NGOs and government organisations across the Seychelles to help develop them and give them the skills and experience they need to make a difference and begin a career in conservation.
If the last 3 months has shown us anything, it is that this world is damaged, and that it has needed healing. With this program in place we hope to inspire the new generation to begin that healing process.
Moving forwards is now trickier than ever. We need to look at keeping this process going. We want to make sure that these opportunities do not dry out. There are many ways you can support us. You might feel that your company wants to support a conservation effort somewhere in the world. The Seychelles is a great place for that. They have just protected 30% of the country's oceans 1.34 million square kilometres! You might decide that you want to support us yourself and any donation of any kind can go a long way into helping fund one of these placements for the scholar. If you are thinking during these times that you may not be able to help, not a problem. Share the word. Share what we are trying to do here and share what the Seychelles is capable of.
The current challenges are funds and logistics. As soon as we began this program the world went into lockdown. NGO’s went into hibernation. People left to head back to their native country and spend the time with their families. We are now trying to bring together a small team of 3 here in the Seychelles with the aim of beginning the 6 scholars training within the marine conservation sector. The first obstacle is bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together so that we can then move forwards with the funding. It can be as simple as covering the fuel for the scientific survey dives, or the filters for the air compressor, or the repair kits for the diving equipment, and even the paper and pencils for the report writing.
If we manage to gain the funding needed for all of the above we can look at training them up to the high standards we are known for and from there place them within organisations across the Seychelles.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are what we and every organisation here works towards. If you are aware of them, great. If not, please do look them up, it is a fascinating and difficult challenge that will take the whole world to work towards.
4. Quality Education: Through the development of this program and the education of primary school children at Port Glaud and the Internation School Seychelles.
14. Life Below Water: Through the continuous monitoring of the coral reef ecosystems around the North West of Mahe to better understand the impacts on these fragile systems and how best to protect them.
17. Partners for the Goals: Working with partners through many different means and in this case around 6-8 different partners all sharing their knowledge and experience.
What’s next? We do not know. We want to carry on the great work that was put into this program but we need to be able to gain the funding and deliver the experience and education needed for the scholars. We are hoping to potentially deliver the start of the program by September but it all depends on the generosity of the world.
Thank you for reading.
Cap Ternay Marine