Two marine education projects funded by the SOSF existed in the Seychelles. One was run by Abi March, who developed the Academy by the Sea marine education programme under MCSS. The other, a marine education programme focusing mainly on schools, was run from 2010 to 2014 by Abbie Hine in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
Established in 2014, SOSF Island Schools Seychelles builds on the work coordinated by the two existing marine education projects funded by the SOSF in the Seychelles. Both projects were very successful and made thousands of local schoolchildren between the ages of three and 18, as well as hundreds of teachers, tourists and members of the wider Seychelles community, aware of the marine environment around them.
One cohesive project has been created by working together and combining the strongest elements of these two projects. Becoming aware of and learning about the marine environment will run fluidly through the Seychelles education system and throughout the community. A more robust, powerful and effective marine education programme can thus be established and developed across the nation.
The Seychelles is a country of outstanding natural beauty with a great diversity of coastal and ocean habitats. It does, however, rely heavily on its marine resources, with tourism and fisheries being the main economic activities. Marine resources face serious depletion because the general public is not aware of them and they are not developed sustainably – and the consequences for their conservation would be severe. Education is essential if the problems are to be mitigated and people’s opinions and behaviour are to be changed. The Island School Seychelles seeks to promote understanding and respect for the country’s marine environment through community education programmes. Combining enthusiastic and passionate education with visual aids, in-water experiences and a deeper look into the intricacies of the marine environment can turn the tide towards improving environmental stewardship and renewing the feeling of ownership.