UNICEF & Blue Ventures launch new partnership to connect coastal communities through innovative approach to youth education

17 October, 2011, Madagascar. In a groundbreaking new partnership, UNICEF is working with Blue Ventures to enhance its community-based conservation program through innovative, technological teaching tools for the youth of coastal southwest Madagascar.

The partnership is part of the 'Connecting Classrooms, Communities, and Youth for Biodiversity Conservation'(CCCYBC) initiative launched this year by UNICEF Madagascar. The core program activity is 'Connecting Classrooms'—a global initiative of UNICEF that has been adapted to Madagascar to contextualize the e-learning modules around the themes of conservation, climate change adaptation, and natural resource management, among other key themes. The model empowers and 'connects' youth to engage in dialogue with their peers both here in Madagascar and beyond. A Saturday School program will provide audio-visual learning support for local students in a range of subjects, including environmental science. The Junior Reporters Club will empower youth as citizen journalists, producing educational radio programs and films aimed at empowering the wider youth community to participate in local issues.

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"Improving access to and quality of education for the youth of the Vezo community is essential to the long-term survival of the marine ecosystem on which the community depends. Our activities with UNICEF will empower young people to use innovative, low-cost, audiovisual communication technologies like film, radio programming and the internet, to increase their own knowledge and to be positive agents of social change for their peers."

Christi Turner, Education and Youth Outreach Coordinator for Blue Ventures


 

The Networking Networks initiative will bring together youth environmental associations from across Velondriake, the Blue Ventures intervention zone, for regional and national-level advocacy and community development initiatives under the banner of the recently launched Malagasy Youth Network for Environment, a complimentary UNICEF initiative.

"Just as the LMMA network links our conservation and management activities, this new UNICEF partnership will connect and enhance our educational outreach programs, both inside and outside the classroom. UNICEF is recognizing that their success in engaging youth to be active citizens, combined with our success in engaging communities to manage their natural resources, is key to long-term sustainable development."

Gildas Andriamalala, Velondriake Program Coordinator for Blue Ventures


 

The new education program complements the Blue Ventures integrated PHE (Population, Health and Environment) approach to conservation and hopes to build on our School scholarships scheme, improving the level of educational opportunities for the young children of Madagascar.

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"Integrating conservation and child-centered climate action activities into our core communication for development, youth participation, and education programs represents an exciting opportunity for UNICEF Madagascar to realise tangible and sustainable results for childrenThis partnership with Blue Ventures marks the start of UNICEF engagement in biodiversity conservation in Madagascar, one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots. Along the fragile southwest coastline where BV works, more than 50% of the population are under the age of 15, and less than 20% have a secondary school education. Empowering the youth to be active citizens and environmental stewards will help to achieve a sustainable balance between the community and the natural environment."

Stuart Campo, Innovative Programming Specialist at UNICEF Madagascar

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Blue Ventures and UNICEF will officially inaugurate their partnership on October 22nd.
Please use this link to find out more about our work with UNICEF 


 Editors notes:

Blue Ventures is an award-winning marine conservation organisation, dedicated to working with local communities to conserve threatened marine environments. Our highly acclaimed conservation programmes work with some of the world's poorest coastal communities to develop conservation and alternative income initiatives to protect biodiversity and coastal livelihoods. The results of our work help us to propose new ideas to benefit coastal communities everywhere.

We believe that improving access to education is essential to preserving the Velondriake ecosystem and sustainably managing its natural resources. Thanks to your donations, Blue Ventures has sent over 175 students to school this school year 2011-12. Without your support, these students could not have afforded their education. To find out more information about our dedication to investing in the people of Madagascar, visit our website. To help more children gain an education, please visit our donation pages.