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Getting to know our ministers … Marie-Celine Zialor, Minister for Youth, Sports & Family |02 December 2020

Getting to know our ministers … Marie-Celine Zialor, Minister for Youth, Sports & Family

Being sworn in as minister

‘By working smart, productivity will automatically increase’ – Minister Zialor


Seychelles has a new cabinet made up of 13 new appointed ministers. While some of them are familiar faces, a few others have not been in the limelight. In an effort to better acquaint ourselves with the new cabinet, Seychelles NATION will be sharing with its readers the profile of each minister on a regular basis.

Today we present to our readers the Minister for Youth, Sports & Family, Marie-Celine Zialor. She describes herself as a ‘disruptor’ and she is ready to bring the change in all the departments she is responsible for. On her agenda, she is thinking of having specific programmes for the youth, women and families and also look into the management of the sports federations in order to give more opportunities to all.


Seychelles NATION: Who is Marie-Celine Zialor?

Minister Zialor: I am a disruptor and a unique expression of God. This is who I am. I am a very assertive person. I know what I want and I will go get it irrespective of what people say. I have also a very strong passion for the development of people. My vocation is to really go look into the basics of people now in 2020. What are the things preoccupying our citizens? I do not believe giving people a fish everyday as I do not believe in the fact that people are being controlled by others. We have to empower, transform people so that they can become a fisherman/woman and sustain themselves.


Seychelles NATION: Tell our readers about your journey from childhood to your young adult years.

Minister Zialor: I spent my childhood at Belvedere, Plaisance. I consider myself among the luckiest persons to have been able to grow with both my dad and mum. I have had a very good childhood with a brother and a sister. I did my primary and secondary education at Plaisance. I attended a Catholic school and that was very good. When I went to NYS though, I did not like it and I was among the first group to go there. I was always interested in science and in NYS I did that. After A levels, I pursued my studies in Biological sciences in Australia which was sponsored by the Government of Australia. I did a Technical and Further Education and I specialised in molecular genetics.

Seychelles NATION: Please tell us more about your professional life.

Minister Zialor: In 1999, I came back to Seychelles and I went through all the laboratories at the time and no one was doing molecular genetics. Then the Ministry of Education asked me to join them to help in teaching in secondary for a while. I ended up staying there for a long time teaching Biology and Chemistry.

In 2005, I did my Masters in Leadership and then I was in charge of Anse Boileau secondary and Mont Fleuri secondary. Then I went back to the headquarters of the Ministry of Education to be charge of the curriculum development. I did not like it there so I moved to the then Seychelles Institute of Management (SIM) – (now TGMI) – to start lecturing management, leadership. I did eight years at SIM/ TGMI. Beginning of 2020, I opened a consultancy coaching business as I was leaving government in order to help entrepreneurs. Seriously, I was not getting anywhere as there were too many red tapes. I did not like to be institutionalised that’s why I am surprising myself by taking up this ministerial post! Initially when President Wavel Ramkalawan asked me to be part of his Cabinet, I suggested to do the work outside. I was really enjoying my work and my programmes on radio. But with his team, the President successfully convinced me to join his team and I went to ponder upon it for two weeks. I was running away to take a post like that as I did not like the 8am to 4pm schedule. So he told me to go change it from inside. I saw the opportunities of taking this task and I joined the bandwagon. I always knew I would do something of national importance and my purpose is that if I want to do something, I own it. But I did not know it would be in the government! For 2021 I had a lot of plans to influence things.


Seychelles NATION: Tell us about your family life.

Minister Zialor: I am married and we have a five-year-old daughter. I am fully supported by my hubby and would not have been able to do that without him. My support system and my strong point is my family and it is very good. I have the support of my mum, sister and aunts. This is what you need to be behind you. Even before becoming a minister, I was busy during the weekend and my family was always there. You need to lead by example. I spoke to my staff here and told them that we are working for the Ministry of Family and we cannot ourselves have unhappy families. We are going to change the way we are working and work smart. I believe in working smart and productivity will automatically increase. If we change the way we work, we will not need office spaces.


Seychelles NATION: And now, being appointed a minister, what will be your main duty and how accessible will you be to the public?

Minister Zialor: I have three main departments under my ministry – Youth, Sports and Family. For the first 100 days, all the ministries are working uniformly and we are trying to get the low hanging fruits. After the 100 days, then we will have a five-year plan. We are currently doing an audit of the three different departments in order to plan ahead. The good thing is that we do not have social affairs with us and we will not have the social problems with us. Our family department will be to strengthen the family unit. We will collect information so that we can better advise for decisions. For example the way we construct our houses, we need to know how the modern family is operating. Family is a unit of society, and we will do ‘transpowerment’ of the family through modern and specialised programmes.

For the Youth, we will see also a complete transformation and for sports we will look for all our sports ambassadors and see how to modernise the governance of sports. We have to have a proper organisation of the different sports federations and have good managers (not necessarily sportsmen/women). We have also to go to the grassroots level and build a whole generation. We have to dream about the Olympic medal and put programmes in place to make this happen. Another thing we will do is to relook at all our sports facilities. I learnt that there are already lots of proposals out there and we need to give an engagement. Money should be put in engaging the youth and families in various programmes including the arts. The technicians know what to do and we have to remove the micro-politics in all of these and we will be able to deliver sooner than expected.


Vidya Gappy




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