The Maldives is 99% ocean, yet many local women have never seen the world under the waves. By training 26 women from 13 islands as swim instructors, we’ll empower them to connect others to the ocean for years to come, enhance livelihood opportunities, and inspire grassroots conservation initiatives.
It ran from 12:00 PM, 22 April 2022 to 12:00 PM, 29 April 2022
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1145387)
To sustainably protect biodiversity, coastal communities must act as custodians of their environment. In many ocean dependent states, women don’t swim, snorkel or engage with the ocean as men do; some Maldivian girls are 3x more likely to feel unconfident in the sea. This can exacerbate inequalities and restrict access to conservation decisions and careers. We protect what we love and love what we know. Maldivian women cannot truly connect to the ocean unless empowered with skills to access it.
We will trial and upscale models to drive systemic change by enabling females to access the ocean through community-led swim and snorkel training programmes. The pilot involves training 26 Maldivian women from 13 inhabited islands as swimming instructors and supporting them to teach over 10,400 people (2% of the Maldives’ population) to swim and connect to the ocean by 2025. We’ll assess successes and evidence benefits, aiming to expand the programme in the Maldives and beyond.
We are coastal people living in a large ocean state, and our very survival is dependent on a healthy marine ecosystem. I believe that actually showing people what they have in their backyard is key to a future with environmentally conscious individuals who are passionate about protecting the ocean.
As Maldivians we all should know how to swim, but that is not the reality. Most of us are scared to go to the sea and do not possess the basic skills of swimming. As a teacher, I would say that my students’ learning is very much limited because they don’t know how to swim
People in urban areas are increasingly getting unfamiliar with the water as the lifestyle does not usually include activities in the Ocean. The effects of this could be disastrous. The Maldives is 99.3% water, so knowing how to swim is not only a skill, but a basic requirement for every citizen.
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