On Friday 9 March 2012, Nature Seychelles launched the Greening Livelihoods project which aims at using nature to benefit vulnerable groups in Seychelles. On the occasion of the launch, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Drug and Alcohol Council (DAC) and the Centre Mont Royal was signed.
The MoU was signed by Danny Volcy for DAC, Robert Moumou for the Centre Mont Royal and Dr. Nirmal Shah for Nature Seychelles. The two organisations will be partnering with Nature Seychelles to assist in project activities. The partners bring expertise in rehabilitation of substance abusers.
DAC is the Seychelles national drug coordinating body, responsible for the overall planning and overseeing of national drug control programmes and activities, especially for demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation, while the Centre Mont Royal is an approved institution for the treatment and rehabilitation of substance dependant persons and has been operational since 1998.
The Greening Livelihoods Project is funded by the European Union and will for the first time in Seychelles use nature conservation and green exercise methods to provide individuals with appropriate mental, physical and practical skills to improve their livelihood opportunities and to get them back into mainstream society. Read more
Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles Dr. Nirmal Shah said that the project was responding to a problem of substance abuse that exists in the country, outlined by the Seychelles President James Michel who has also called for concerted efforts to address it.
"We shall all have to find lasting solutions to the serious problems threatening the fabric of our society - consumption and trafficking of drugs, crime, delinquency, antisocial behaviour and others.” “The main cause of anti-social behaviours is the abuse and trafficking of drugs,” the President said during his inauguration speech in May, 2011.
"We come from the natural environment. We have been working to save nature for the benefit of society, but now that society itself is in trouble we need to help save people, that is why we started this project," Shah said during the launch.
Martin Varley, Nature Seychelles Community and Stakeholder Action Coordinator said the basis for the programme is sound research that has been conducted in the UK that shows nature can be used to help vulnerable people build self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation through undertaking activities in natural environments that also develop practical and social skills.
Similar projects have made a significant contribution towards addressing long term implications of rehabilitation among drug users. The project will be carried out at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman and the Heritage Garden.