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Youth Exchange between Seychelles and Maldives

Overview of the Seychelles-Maldives youth exchange
By Mr. Alain De Comarmond, Ministry of the Environment (07.05.04)

It was towards the end of 2003 that two islands in the Indian Ocean decided to turn the Small Islands Voice internet-based youth forum into specific action on the ground. That was with the aim of getting students from the schools in the small islands states to, not only read about concerns, similarities and differences in the countries through the internet, but also to learn about each other's countries through visits and develop a joint activity which can be undertaken by youth in the different countries. This would strengthen Small Island States' relationships and share experiences in reinforcing island environment and development issues. The exchange visit was proposed by Miss Farida Camille, SIV Youth facilitator for Praslin Secondary School in Seychelles. This exchange aimed to promote direct interaction between youth in different islands and promote sharing of views and information.

The initiative was well supported by UNESCO and the Ahmaddiyah School in the Maldives under the leadership of their principal, Mr Gahaa Saeed, who actively promoted the idea of this first exchange visit. The Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources as well as that of Environment in the Maldives also gave their full support towards the success of the exchange. They made it possible for students from the two countries to discuss common environmental, social and development problems; discuss possible solutions and how to implement them; and prepare a project that the students in the two countries could undertake and implement themselves.

The students have prepared their own report on the exchange.

The day before the group left, they visited Ahmaddiyah School on the first day of the term and participated in the assembly, in which Miss Farida explained the goal of the exchange visit and the project that would ensue.

An honoured invitation to meet the President of the Maldives, Mr Abdul Gayoom, was very much welcomed by the Seychelles participants and at 10.30 a.m on 11th January 2004, the group was in the President's office. After an interesting dialogue with the President, the Seychelles group proceeded to meet the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources. In both visits, it was felt that the two countries have a lot in common and that there already existed a bond between the two countries' presidents and officers of the above mentioned ministries. Some doubts with regards to environmental effects of major projects being carried out in the Maldives were cleared by the Minister for Environment and his Adviser who explained that a project like that of the Garbage Island of Thilafushi had a more positive side effect on marine life than anticipated, as corals around it were growing well and the marine life was as healthy and attractive as elsewhere in the country. A book given by the President to the Seychelles group emphasised the strong will of the President to combat threats to the small island states. It was interesting to find out from the President himself that such an idea of having small island states join together had been proposed before in the Kyoto Convention.


To get involved, contact :


National Co-ordinators
Mr Rolph Payet and Mr Alain De Comarmond
Ministry of Environment
PO Box 677, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
Tel: + 248 224 644
Fax: 248 322 945


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