Speaking at the conference opening, Minister Jumeau described the club members from Mahé, Praslin and Silhouette as “eco-warriors” and the future of Seychelles’ environmental movement.
“I have come to make a special appeal to you. I have called you young eco-warriors, because you are the spearhead of our environmental struggle. What you learn today, take it back home with you and teach your parents and your brothers and sisters. Make them listen to what you have to say,” he said.
The minister warned that the threat of water scarcity is growing in Seychelles and that young people will play a key role in reducing water wastage.
“Do not underestimate your powers of persuasion and your ability to set an example?your efforts will be wasted if you leave what you learn here,” he said.
Minister Jumeau drew on the example of the role played by children in persuading their parents and grandparents not to eat turtle meat as proof of their ability to influence environmental practice.
The minister’s comments were reinforced by the Chair of the Wildlife Clubs, Nirmal Shah, who emphasised the role that young people play today in shaping attitudes and in the future in guiding water use policies.
“Changing the attitudes and practices of adults can be an exceptionally difficult task. Young people are more prepared to listen and, often, when it comes to environmental matters, have a better understanding of the issues which arise,” said Mr Shah.
The conference was organised by the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles with the support of the other members of the Stream Team project: the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Education, the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) and Nature Seychelles.
The Stream Team has previously worked on activities to examine the environmental, historical and cultural significance of water sources, and the biodiversity they support.
Following presentations by staff from Nature Seychelles, the Department of Natural Resources, the Meteorological Office and PUC, the students split into groups to work on different projects to reinforce water conservation messages.
The interactive practical sessions saw the students work on posters, songs, drama and news presentations and working wetland models, which will be used as learning aids at future Wildlife Club activities.