We are fostering the next generation of Maldivian ocean ambassadors......who will take stewardship of their island environment.
We believe that encouraging children to learn about their natural marine resources is the most effective way to ensuring the long-term conservation of the Maldivian marine environment.
Many schools in the Maldives do not currently include subjects such as Marine or Fisheries Science in their core curriculum, so our team in the Maldives are providing the expertise and capacity needed to better educate local children about these topics.
Our Maldivian Manta Ray Project has been delivering outreach initiatives to local schools, across four atolls, since 2015. Overtime our efforts have grown in scope and ambition, ultimately leading to the creation of a fully-fledged education programme.
Our Marine Education Programme aims to educate students at local schools about the environmental issues facing their communities, and provide opportunities to engage them with the solutions and the ecosystems on their doorstep.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that future generations of Maldivians have a personal connection with their marine environment, and an understanding of its importance and the need to conserve it.
The Marine Education Programme is based on five core modules; Maldives Marine Ecosystems, Coral Reef Ecosystems, Coastal Ecosystems, Pollution and Waste Management, Conservation and Ecosystem Management.
During theory lessons, Manta Trust staff give presentations and run interactive learning activities for students in the classroom. The Marine Education Programme also includes practical classes linked to each module, taking students out into the ocean to get up-close and personal with the world beneath the waves!
Increase youth participation in marine activities
Our research shows that many students, particularly girls, do not often swim in the sea and are scared to do so. Many of our students had never been snorkelling before. It is essential that local Maldivians are equipped with the skills to safely swim and snorkel in the ocean if we are to instil a desire to understand and conserve marine ecosystems.
Research the effectiveness of marine education for conservation
We monitor our effectiveness at increasing participant’s marine environmental awareness, knowledge, and pro-environmental behaviour. Our data shows that the programme significantly increases these variables. As we expand and develop the programme, we continue to assess its impact, how it can be improved, and evaluate its role in improving marine environmental conservation.
Increase marine awareness across the wider community
By conducting the programme with environmentally impassioned school students, we impact the whole community through inter-generational teaching and discussions inspired from the students’ experiences. We raise students’ marine environmental awareness, knowledge and engagement with the sea, sparking a love for the ocean and a passion to help protect it that they pass on to those around them.
Getting Girls in the Ocean
Analysis of surveys completed by students before and after taking part, has identified a consistent and significant gender disparity in the Maldives, with girls scoring lower on average than boys in all categories, but especially in marine engagement. Encouragingly though, our data also showed that our female students’ marine environmental engagement, attitude and knowledge scores increased significantly after the programme.
“For me, the biggest success of this initiative is getting the girls interested and confident in the ocean. We cannot love something and want to protect it unless we can see it and access its beauty and wonder. After all, I believe that most conservationists, myself included, became passionate about marine conservation through witnessing the marvel and beauty of the ocean first-hand. Most of the girls involved in our programme, and most girls and women in the Maldives, do not get opportunities or encouragement to swim in the same way that boys do. This could be due to religious or cultural norms (the role of boys can be seen to be outgoing and girls more domestic) – more research is needed to identify the causes. What I can be certain of is that the girls screamed and giggled with excitement as they were taught to snorkel and shown coral reefs, turtles and mantas, and they exhibited a much higher interest in the ocean and desire to protect it afterwards.”
Flossy Barraud - Maldives Community Education & Outreach Officer
Support Marine Education In the maldives
With your support, we can continue to expand this programme, to work with schools beyond the immediate reach of our existing research bases, and move closer to delivering marine education across this island nation.
Make a donation to support our core initiatives and charitable aims, including marine education in the Maldives.
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