The "Vev Man" Terence Vel is at it again....this time in scholalry pursuits.

Terence Vel in Cousin Island[ROCHE CAIMAN 10/10/08] Indefatigable Seychellois conservationist, Terence Vel was feted with the highest honours after completing his coursework and passing his examinations with flying colours. For his efforts Vel secured the top rank marks and has subsequently been conferred with a Diploma in Conservation Education.

“We held our Board of Examiners meeting today at the University of Kent, with members of the Rare team, the lecturers, the External Examiner, and the University of Kent Quality Assurance Office. I am delighted to tell you that you received your Diploma in Conservation in Education, with a grade of DISTINCTION. Congratulations! As well as receiving an excellent grade for your Diploma, we know that you ran a really wonderful Pride campaign. We would like to acknowledge your hard work, dedication and talent. We know that you are a precious asset to the world of conservation, and we look forward to hearing more about your progress in the future.” Rosemary Godfrey, the Senior Pride Program Manager writes in her email message to Vel.

Vel now joins a select group of conservation professionals in the world who employ the unique “Pride Campaign” techniques which utilize and incorporate traditional education methods and private sector marketing strategies.  The Rare Pride campaigns are geared at inspiring people who live in the world’s most biodiverse locales with an aim of winning them over to embrace conservation.

“Rare Pride social marketing concept is steeped on building support for conservation at the local level. This is because some of the world’s most rare species and sites bequeathed with important biodiversity are threatened simply because awareness creation and local community support is missing.” Vel who is currently the Nature Seychelles Social Marketing and Site Support Coordinator explains.

For the last two years Vel has vigorously pursued the principles espoused in the Rare Pride campaigns manual on Social Marketing and creatively applied the maxims of the local Creole culture and concepts to push for the conservation of the Paradise flycatcher in and around La Digue.

In his well targeted awareness-raising initiatives which sought to dramatically build momentum for conservation, Terence employed the usage of mass media, stakeholder consensus building, posters, music and other out-of the ordinary means to win local support. At the start of his campaign, only one percent of the community said they ever talked about threats to the Vev (flycatcher). This number rose to 76 percent at the campaign’s end.

“Through Social Marketing I had to be creative enough to use the time tested Nature Seychelles mantra of ‘for people, for wildlife, for Seychelles’ and merge it with Rare Pride techniques so as to be able to create a constituency necessary for initiating policy changes, catalyzing public support and shifting public behavior toward sustainable practices to safeguard the Vev.”

For being passionate about the pride of La Digue which is the Paradise Flycatcher (Vev in Creole) Vel has been christened “the Vev man”. Before Vel began his campaign he spent sometime at the University of Kent for rigorous coursework on ecology, biodiversity, community-based conservation, and social marketing. Courtesy of his success, Vel is now eligible for a Masters of Science degree.

“You can bet your last rupee and a sip of some good wine that I am indeed a proud man having ran a successful campaign and now being awarded a diploma with top marks.” Vel says with a mirthful smile. [ENDS]

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