Nature Seychelles is a registered non-governmental association, NGO, in Seychelles which is dedicated to environmental conservation. It is the largest and oldest environmental NGO in the Seychelles archipelago.
It is the national partner of BirdLife International and was formed as the replacement for Birdlife Seychelles in 1998.
Nature Seychelles manages the world-famous Cousin Island Special Reserve, one of the oldest marine protected areas in Seychelles.
Being an environmental advocacy group, one would have thought the organization would have nothing to do with technology, however as the world is evolving and embracing technology in every sphere of life, Nature Seychelles is also advancing in its manner of carrying out its actionsvities to make more impact.
Nature Seychelles has embraced Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, to enhance conservation and at the same time boost education and raise awareness.
To buttress the organizations’ continuous engagement with the use of technology, the Chief Executive Officer of Nature Seychelles, Dr Nirmal Shah says” we see technology as a friend and not a hindrance to our work.”
Through collaborations with various bodies, government bodies and the private sector like Google, Airtel, Cable and Wireless, Barclays Bank, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, and the World Commission on Protected Areas, Nature Seychelles is implementing its “Technology for Conservation Programme” (TeCoPro)”.
Over the years, it has incorporated and deployed New media technologies such as mobile phones, Satellite tracking, CD-ROMS, Digital Photos, and the Internet among others to succour species survival and enhance marine conservation.
For instance, it has digitized all its conservation education manuals and materials and placed them on CD ROMS that are distributed to schools in Seychelles.
It also supports the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles to record original environmental songs on CD which are then sold for fundraising purposes while also collaborating with several media houses in the country to undertake digital films on Seychelles wildlife.
Not undermining its capacity, it also plans to launch “YouTube” and “PodCast” platforms for all the films on its website for downloading and posterity’s sake.
In terms of getting more people digitally educated and interested in conservation, the organization works with groups such as Young Seychellois, Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles leaders, and other conservation enthusiasts to train their members on module formats through a wide range of ICT platforms to empower them and enable them in real-time conservation communication.
Currently, Nature Seychelles has an interactive website with downloadable links which is updated fortnightly. It is in the process of undertaking wikis and WEB 2.0 to enable young Seychellois to blog on conservation matters just as it has an automated fortnightly news flash that is sent all over the world.
All these and many more are targeted at encouraging connectivity of Nature Seychelles activities to the entire world through digital tools.
From time to time, the NGO seeks funding and support for its different tech- initiatives targeted at the Island it oversees as well as other practitioners and the larger community.
And just recently, its efforts were recognized as it got support on its technology drive for conservation from one of the world’s leading providers of information and communication technology company, Huawei Technologies.
The NGO was granted the sum of $200,000 from the tech giant toward the funding of a new project tagged ‘Next-Gen Conservation: Applying and sharing lessons in the use of technology and digital based solutions for the island and coastal conservation management.’
Among other things, the project aims to improve digital connectivity through the development and rollout of specific tech-driven activities to scale up the conservation of sea turtles, coral reefs and endemic bird monitoring.
It is not only concerned about conservation but also improving the lives of people digitally, hence according to the CEO, through this project, it will be building a community of practice which will scale up the energy and capacity of tech people locally to develop new products and services for conservation.
The project created by IUCN and Huawei is part of a global initiative by Huawei called Tech4Nature, aimed at scaling up nature conservation success through the use of digital technology innovations.
It aims to allow over 300 protected areas across the world to evaluate their conservation success through the IUCN Green List Standard by 2023.
Working towards the eventual certification of the reserve under the IUCN Green List, an international standard that certifies and recognises effectively managed protected area sites is another aim of the management team of the reserve.
And to achieve this, it has to be in tune with the realities of modern times as well as learn to adopt it for its day-to-day activities. This, Nature Seychelles is doing and improving on as the days go by and it is believed that if it continues such, no doubt, it will maximise every opportunity available to it and create a niche for itself among environmental stakeholders.