Namoona Champions

Within each community we partner with, there are individuals who embody the Namoona vision and elevate it even higher. Nadheem and Shaneez, two members from Kihaadhoo Eco-Centro team who volunteer to run swimming programmes for local kids, are example of true community leaders.

They run daily operations at Kihaadhoo Eco-Centro, constantly striving to improve standards and recycling rates. In their spare time, they can be found in the water, helping others to enjoy the ocean. They have both done their swimming and water rescue training with Soneva Namoona and between them they have taught 125 children to swim on Kihaadhoo.

They teach older women water aerobics and they teach swimming, water rescue, and lifeguarding skills. The island council has recognised their contribution to their community and has rewarded them with an extra day off a week – which in turn they use to serve their community further with extra swimming lessons!

Shore to Open Water Series 

The Shore to Open Water Series serves as a platform for all members of the island community, regardless of age or level of competence in the water, to transition from swimming in shallower lagoons to gaining confidence in open water. The series includes activities such as swimming competitions, watersports festivals, open water swimming, water polo tournaments, water rescue simulations, and workshops on water safety protocols. The aim of the program is to empower individuals with the skills needed to be safe and confident in the water, as well as to enjoy water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and water polo. Our belief is that if people spend time in the ocean and experience its beauty, they will be inspired to protect it. This program is a collaborative partnership between Soneva Namoona and the Maldives Swimming and Life Saving Skills Training School.
In February 2023, the First Lady of the Maldives, Fazna Ahmed, attended the INSPIRE Shore to Open Water Festival in B.Dhonfanu, calling the program an “exemplary strategy to create a fondness for the ocean and awareness of ocean safety.”

Leaders of the Ocean

Leaders of the Ocean are fully trained swimming instructors with additional leadership skills such as water rescue or water aerobics instruction, and survival skills. Soneva Namoona, in partnership with the Maldives Swimming and Life Saving Skills Training School, aims to prepare and empower young leaders through these training programmes to build capacity within their own islands. This initiative equips participants, who are from the local community, with the knowledge and expertise to effectively instruct others in swimming techniques, lifesaving procedures, and the importance of our marine environment, ultimately promoting water safety and environmental stewardship across Namoona communities. We have trained over 36 swimming instructors who, in turn, have enhanced the swimming capacity of over a thousand students.

Surfing Competitions

The Shore to Open Water Series has its roots in surfing competitions held in Goidhoo, Baa Atoll, and Lhohi, Noonu Atoll, in 2018 and 2019. The objective of these competitions was to inspire young Maldivians to interact, enjoy, and protect the ocean through sustainable surf practices. As with all current water-based activities, girls were particularly encouraged to participate. Surf Pro competitions introduced an exciting sport for ocean lovers, motivating them to learn and compete in surfing.

Ocean Equipment and Infrastructure

Beyond essential swimming skills, specific equipment further enhances enjoyment and safety of the ocean. Soneva Namoona ensures that islands are equipped with the relevant water safety equipment, such as life rings, life jackets, whistles and first aid kits. To experience the full wonder of the ocean, Soneva Namoona has donated snorkelling kits of all sizes to islands, which are shared within the community to make snorkelling accessible for everyone. Additionally, Soneva Namoona is installing swimming platforms in Baa Dharavandhoo and Noonu Kudafari. The islands will be equipped with infrastructure to organize inter-island and atoll-wide swimming competitions, encouraging more people to spend more time in the water. 

Namoona Workshops and High Level Meetings

Throughout the year, Soneva Namoona facilitates events within and between Namoona islands to share learnings and develop community capacity. These include personal leadership training, where island community leaders develop their own facilitation skills, to Namoona Changemaker workshops.

Once a year, a Namoona Workshop is held at Soneva Fushi, to which all partners and community stakeholders are invited. The purpose of the workshops is to further develop each pillar of the Soneva Namoona strategy – Reduce, Recycle, Inspire – with the benefit of community insights, sharing learnings and the assessment of existing and planned government policy.

At each Namoona workshop, we formulate an updated action plan for the next phase of theproject in ways that strategically align with government targets on single-use plastic and sustainable waste management. We also celebrate the achievements of Namoona islands.

Following the most recent Namoona Workshop in October 2022, a High Level Meeting was held on Kihaadhoo where the 11 Namoona island council presidents presented the Environment Minister with 13 policy recommendations to accelerate the transition to sustainable waste management.

Fehi Madharusa

Fehi Madharusa (Green Schools) is a comprehensive framework designed in partnership between Soneva Namoona, the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education. The framework is currently being piloted in seven schools across the Maldives, training 158 students and educators, with a target for national rollout in 2024.

The mission of Fehi Madharusa is to nurture environmental stewardship within both the formal and informal school curriculum. The programme aligns with the national curriculum and supports students to understand the local and global context of environmental challenges.

Using a whole school approach that encompasses governance and school culture, educational programmes, and community involvement, school children are encouraged to use their creativity and innovation to unlock solutions to current environmental problems. The framework encourages schools to involve all members of the school community to take initiative and responsibility for their surrounding environment and safeguard it for the future.

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