SIF runs Instagram Live series to raise funds for the 2020 Aldabra Eco-School trip |28 October 2021
The Aldabra Eco-School trip has been single-handedly funded by the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) for the past 20 years.
This life-changing experience which has allowed 194 students and 41 teachers to visit Aldabra Atoll, has only ever been interrupted by piracy (between 2010-2014), and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19’s health and safety implications, as well as the heavy financial impact, which reduced SIF’s revenue by 70% in 2020, cancelled that year’s trip and prevented a trip from taking place this year.
As a non-profit organisation that largely depends on revenue generated by tourism, this reality was a hard blow to deal with.
Yet, determined to bring the Eco-School kids back to Aldabra, SIF held a month-long Question and Answer sponsored series throughout September to raise funds for this cause.
The live sessions ran on Instagram, a popular social media platform, whereby the public was able to connect with members of the SIF team, with some even being on Aldabra.
Each question answered by participants earned a R300 or $23 donation from a group of sponsors: Cable & Wireless Seychelles, MCB Seychelles, H Savy Insurance, Sacos Insurance and Space 95.
The sponsors all expressed a keen interest in supporting this virtual fundraising initiative, which was both a first for SIF and Seychelles, to help pave the way for young eco-warriors to once again have access to the Aldabra Eco-School trip, known as ‘The Trip of a Lifetime’.
During a cheque handover with Cable & Wireless Seychelles at Exiles Club, director for human resources, Thomas Dauban, expressed how much the CWS Foundation appreciates “the value that Aldabra holds nationally, and with children being exposed at an early age to our environment, it should inspire them to grow to become ambassadors for the preservation of the environment”.
Furthermore, when commenting on choosing to sponsor, MCB Seychelles stated “it is critical to continue sensitising and educating future scientists, voluntarists and environmental activists. Although the activity was centred around raising funds, it has also assisted to highlight SIF’s conservation and research efforts, and with climate change as one of Seychelles’ most pressing threats, education is key”.
Jennifer Morel, chief executive, Sacos added that “as the future leaders, policymakers and guardians of our environment, exposing [the next generation] to the unique and fragile ecosystems in Seychelles is really crucial in building educational awareness”.
Talking about the value of such initiative Lambert Woodcock, general manager, HSI said “it is a pleasure for HSI to help facilitate the Eco-School trip for the young environmentalists. We hope that the journey to the atoll will not only enrich their young minds but also inspire them to continue to protect and preserve the environment”.
Andy Noel, Space95 chief operating officer commented: “Space95 is delighted to support SIF in bringing Seychellois youth to one of our country’s most unique natural environments. Technology will play an increasingly important role in making our islands greener, more sustainable and more efficient in future, and our company believes that young people should have an opportunity to learn through experience about Aldabra and the importance of preserving places like it.”
Moreover, the initiative was well received by the public, with over 500 Instagram accounts reached live and 116 questions asked directly to the team and in total, SIF was able to raise R91,000, a helpful contribution for the Aldabra Eco-School trip.
The SIF team is extremely pleased with the outcome of this initiative, and found the virtual fundraiser to be an effective method to directly connect SIF’s followers to one of Seychelles’ Unesco World Heritage Sites, this is especially important in light of the threat that climate change poses to Aldabra.
The Communications for Change project (C4C) is an SIF initiative, funded by the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust. It aims to bridge the gap between the public and the research and conservation work that takes place on the atoll. By bringing Aldabra closer to the public, SIF aims to encourage climate action from individuals, the community and policy-makers, to preserve our natural heritage for future generations to come, and grateful for the generous donation towards the Eco-School trip, as well as the public who engaged and asked questions throughout the sessions. SIF is hoping to bring the kids back on Aldabra for their trip of a lifetime in the coming year.
Contributed by SIF