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Ceps marks World NGO Day with special recognition   By Vidya Gappy |28 February 2024

Ceps marks World NGO Day  with special recognition     By Vidya Gappy

The award recipients (or their representatives) in a souvenir photograph with Ceps officials

To celebrate the World Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Day, the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps) hosted a ceremony yesterday to acknowledge individuals whose pivotal contributions to the civil society sector have often gone unnoticed.

The recipients are Noella Gonthier, Mia Dunford, Surya Khanna, Jean Claude Matombe, Beryl Dodin, Dr Marie-Thérèse Purvis, Judge Bernardin Renaud and John Marie (in absentia).

The ceremony took place at the National Theatre in Mont Fleuri, where Alvin Laurence, chief executive of Ceps, also announced the nomination of four commissioners: Nigel Henri for the Socio-cultural commission, Gina Laporte for the Health commission, Erold Renaud for the Economic and Environment commission, and Kingsley Poupouneau for the Faith-based Commission.

In Seychelles, there are approximately 250 movements related to civil society.

“World NGO Day celebrated annually on February 27 is a significant occasion that aims to recognise the efforts and achievements of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) worldwide. In Seychelles, as in anywhere in the world, NGOs play a crucial role in addressing various social, environmental, and humanitarian issues across the globe. That is why it is important to say ‘Thank You’ to all those dedicating their lives to the service of others. As Ceps it is crucial for us to recognise their service throughout all these years.”

It should be noted that the day has been celebrated by the United Nations for the last 10 years in more than 89 countries over six continents.

“In Seychelles, we usually organise a day for the NGOs but they work from January 1 to December 31. This week, we are organising a week activity to shed light on the work the NGOs are doing. NGO day touches a huge number of people who are not even conscious that they are helping out in the community. Today we had people from different strata of the society to celebrate this day,” said Mr Laurence.

With regard to youth involvement in the community, Mr Laurence explained that a lot of them want to set up a group but are not aware they need to register formally in order to gain assistance. They are somewhat timid but Ceps is here to help them navigate the process efficiently.

For her part, Françoise Larue, chairperson of Ceps, congratulated all NGOs for their wonderful work in the community and noted that “the achievements and current determination give us many reasons to celebrate and be proud. We have sailed through the post Covid-19 pandemic, embraced the economic and social life re-adaptation and more importantly adapt to new rules and regulations”.

“While these challenges may have emerged as obstacles, we have nonetheless transformed them into opportunities. So much so that several new movements have started and more people are embracing the civil society through their own freewill, motivation, benevolence and engagement.”

She also encouraged the NGOs to remain focused and ensure that more opportunities are created for citizens to be engaged in the nation-building process and also to join forces to work towards a sustainable future.

Dr Purvis, a well-known environmental advocate, shared that she has been heavily involved in two environmental organisations: the Plant Conservation Action Group and Sustainability for Seychelles since 2007. “My interests have always been in environment, justice, and human rights. It is impossible for me to stop serving the community, and for now, I am involved in projects concerning air quality in Seychelles, and soon another one will focus on managing and separating garbage.”

Dr Purvis also emphasised that the two associations she is involved with encourage youth participation, and she believes that all associations should strive to involve more young people in their causes.

The origins of World NGO Day trace back to its official proposal and recognition in 2010, with its declaration in 2012. Initially proposed by 12 countries during the Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, the day gained acceptance in 2012 under the German CBSS Presidency. The inaugural global event in 2014, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, further solidified the significance of World NGO Day on the international stage.

Happy NGO Day to all NGOs and volunteers working to build a more resilient Seychelles.


Photos: Louis Toussaint


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