Nature Seychelles wins ‘Educating Africa’ award


26-March-2012

 Nature Seychelles’ Green Health Programme teaches people to connect with nature through wellness and healthy lifestyles in natural surroundings


"Nature Seychelles has done exceptionally well to be named country winner in the competition. This means that it caught the judges’ attention despite this being the most competitive award to date. We had an extremely high volume of entries this year and the standard was very high so you should be proud of your achievements," the organisers said.

Over 350 entries from all over Africa were received by the organisers, Educating Africa and Teach A Man To Fish. This is the fourth time that the Awards have run.

This unique competition identifies and celebrates the achievements of social entrepreneurs who understand the role education can play within their communities. Nature Seychelles entered its Green Health Programme, which teaches people to connect with nature through wellness and healthy lifestyles in natural surroundings. Started in 2010 the innovative learning programme was responding to the challenges that modernisation has brought to Seychelles including the challenges of sedentary lifestyles that exclude nature. The same programme recently won the International Innovation Prize for the World Leisure Organisation.
 
"These lifestyles have contributed to the numerous health problems plaguing Seychelles like high blood pressure, and a high prevalence of diabetes and obesity. Childhood obesity is already a massive problem in the country," said Nature Seychelles chief executive Nirmal Shah.

The programme also acts as a pivot for making nature conservation relevant to people. It links wellness to the care and nurture of the environment; and cultivates a love for nature early in children.

"One of our core objectives is to improve the conservation of biodiversity and protection of the environment through educational programmes. We have been very successful in introducing environmental education in public schools. The Green Health Programme was introduced to extend this reach to the general population through non-traditional means. The award is a validation that thinking out of the box works," Mr Shah said.

Nature Seychelles has extended the benefits of its Green Health Programme to include the vulnerable in society. It has recently launched the "Greening Livelihoods" project which will use nature to impart mental, physical and practical skills to improve livelihood opportunities for those affected by substance abuse.

"With this competition we were looking for programmes which are innovative, sustainable and create real impact – and we have found them. By awarding them we hope to encourage others to imitate the winner’s approach and work towards more and better education in Africa," said Teach A Man To Fish managing director Nik Kafka. 

Contributed by Nature Seychelles

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