Blue economy advocates meet Vice-President Meriton |26 May 2020
The five young members of the newly created youth advocacy group for the department of blue economy yesterday met with Vice-President Vincent Meriton, who heads the department.
In their first encounter with the vice-president as a group, the young blue economy champions were presented with their acceptance letters.
Aged from 20 to 24, Pearl Bastienne, Gabrielle Gonthier, Jean-François Lepathy, Mario Desaubin and Laurent Valentin expressed their gratitude at being selected for this unique opportunity.
The creation of the group is in response to the commitment made to the African Union (AU) and in line with the Blue Economy Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap.
The youth advocacy group has for aim to incite conversations on the blue economy among the younger generations in Seychelles, and garner interests and involvement in the development of the blue economy.
The five-member team is also expected to provide logistical and technical assistance to facilitate the implementation of the Blue Economy Policy Framework and Roadmap, and promote the principles of the blue economy in different media formats.
Their duties will also extend to regional and international platforms.
Additionally, the group will be trained in ocean governance through mentorship from staff of the department of the blue economy.
The group is on a voluntary basis.
VP Meriton yesterday highlighted that the department had found it necessary to engage youths in the development of government policies and strategies in regards to the blue economy, not only through non-government organisations (NGOs), but also directly within the administration.
“There are many youth organisations that are working with the government in advancing and promoting the blue economy and you will be taking this to a higher level because you will form part of the governance system of the blue economy,” VP Meriton told the five youths.
He further noted that their decision to join and volunteer their time as activists for the department, demonstrates the willingness of the youth to help shape tomorrow.
“The government commits itself to continuing the work that it has started and providing the platform to ensure that ideas that come up are implemented,” he added.
Thessia Kilindo, who has been tasked with coordinating the group, noted that the group has been put together for the duration of two to three years.
The policy analyst at the department of the blue economy noted that this would be sufficient time to mentor and build the capabilities of the five youths to later take up leadership in the blue economy.
“In turn they will have to raise awareness among others in the communities, train them and teach them about food security, sustainable use of the ocean and so on,” Ms Kilindo said.
“With COVID-19, we now have a better understanding of the importance of the fisheries industry and our ocean, and this will help us to explore the various possibilities and develop new businesses in this sector.”
Gonthier noted that she joined the group with the view of educating and empowering the community.
“As a youth, I understand the impact of my voice and what I can contribute to the society. The blue economy is the way forward; we have a vast ocean and we need to invest in it. I want to be part of that change.”
On his part, Valentin is hoping to bring about innovative changes and is passionate about the involvement of more Seychellois scientists and researchers in regards to the blue economy.
“Our greatest contribution as youths is our perspective and our ideas. We have to ensure that polices that are implemented are sustainable,” Valentin said.
Education: Currently at the University of Seychelles doing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with specialisation in International Business which will be completed this year.
Related experience and interest: She did a one month internship with the department of the Blue Economy in 2019, working on long-term and short-term objectives for BE, aligned to the Goals of the BE Roadmap. She was also involved in the department’s communications efforts, assisting in several projects such as creation of story board, designing of sensitisation surveys and analysis of data obtained. She aspires to be a BE role model for other youths, planting the seeds for our future generation.
Education: Cambridge International A levels. He has qualified for a government scholarship and is awaiting to pursue a BSc in Meteorology and Oceanography.
Related Experience and interest: Presently working at the Seychelles Meteorological Authority, pending the commencement of his BSc. He is currently representing the Seychelles Meteorological Authority on the 4th SDG Technical Working Group tackling Environment and Natural resources. Has a passion for scientific development tailored towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly innovation.
Education: A Levels in Psychology and Sociology. Will be pursuing her undergraduate studies in Psychology in 2021.
Related experience and interest: Currently working as a veterinary technician at the National Biosecurity Agency. She has a great passion for the ocean, which has influenced her participation in several beach cleaning initiatives organised by different NGOs.
Education: Completed his A level Studies, has an Advanced Certificate in Health and Safety practices on ship yard (American Standard), and is also currently doing an online Master programme.
Related experience and interest: Working as a Health and Safety officer at Taylor Smith Naval Services. He is passionate about the need to move away from the overreliance on tourism sector through greater development of the fishing and naval services.
Education: Diploma in Business Studies and Accounting. He is preparing for his Bachelor Degree in Entrepreneurship Development in the year 2021.
Related experience and interest: Currently working at the department of industry and entrepreneurship development. Worked on the Seed Capital Grant Committee for 6 months, reviewing and assisting applicants with their application. In doing so, he perceived a lack of innovative business ideas in new business sectors and subsectors. He aims to educate the youth to move toward more innovative business models in new or existing sectors.