Within each community we partner with, there are individuals who embody the Namoona vision and elevate it even higher. Nadheem and Shaneez, two workers in Kihaadhoo Eco-Centro 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!
The Shore to Open Water Series is a collaborative partnership between Soneva Namoona and the Maldives Swimming and Life Saving Skills Training School (MSLSSTS). The programme serves as a platform for all members of the island community, whatever age and whatever level of competence in the water, to transition from swimming in controlled environments to confidence in the open water. This series includes activities such as open water swimming, water rescue simulations, and workshops on water safety protocols. The aim of the programme is to empower individuals with the skills and confidence needed to be safe and confident in the water and to enjoy water sports such as surfing, snorkelling and water polo. Our belief is that if people spend time in the ocean and experience it’s beauty, they will be inspired to protect it.
In February 2023, the First Lady of the Maldives, Fazna Ahmed, attended the INSPIRE Shore to Open Water Festival in Dhonfanu, calling the programme an “exemplary strategy…to create a fondness for the ocean and awareness of ocean safety.” Shore to Open Water Series Playbook – to include in Resources section.
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, has designed a bespoke camp curriculum to prepare and empower young leaders 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 30 Leaders of the Ocean who, in turn, have built the swimming capacity of over a thousand students.
The Shore to Open Water Series has its roots in the Soneva Surf Pro Competitions which ra in Goidhoo, Baa Atoll and Noonu Atoll, in 2018. The objective of the 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 set an example of what sustainable surfing means, using environment-friendly surfboards, leashes, fins, rash guards, sunscreen, and board wax.
Include photos from the surf pro galleries
Snorkeling Equipment donations
Azhoo to provide details
Azhoo to provide details – is this already in action or is it still a plan?
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. Link to the Fehi Madharusa programme guide for schools in the Resources section.
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 [……Kash to provide a sentence on these].
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 (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 xxxx.
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.
Link to the Fehi Madharusa programme guide for schools in the Resources section.
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