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Nirmal Shah displays the coveted trophyRarely does an environmental NGO come out best in ICT related ventures. Nature Seychelles' CEO, Nirmal Shah is an exception to the rule. Just as year 2008 reaches its sunset, he has managed to put the idyllic Seychelles archipelago and entire Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the world map by scooping Africa's coveted digital award. The SABC-Highway Africa Digital Media Award.

[GRAHAMSTOWN 10TH/09/2008] Nirmal Jivan Shah, the Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, has bagged the coveted SABC Highway Africa Media Awards 2008.  This highly prestigious digital award attracted thousands of entries from the entire African continent.

The award was bestowed on Shah on Tuesday 9th/Sept/2008 at an auspicious gala dinner ceremony in the imposing "1820 Settlers Monument" which overlooks the historic town of Grahamstown in Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The ceremony which is normally the main highlight of the Annual Highway Africa Conference was attended by over 700 journalists, bloggers, internet buffs and media scholars from Africa and was beamed live through Africa’s leading broadcaster, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The extremely competitive annual SABC Highway Africa Digital Media Awards runs in three categories, Student/Individual, Not for profit and Corporate.

Shah scooped the Not for Profit category as South African vlogger Khaya Dlanga and Togolese Tadergnon Kokou Noel ran away with the Student/Individual and Corporate categories respectively.

The citation by judges noted Shah’s relentless pursuit and over-zealous commitment for the environment through his work with Nature Seychelles. It reads:  “Based in Seychelles, this is an environmental organization that, among other initiatives, is involved in activities that are targeted at raising the level of environmental awareness and education.” The citation further pays tribute to Shah, “For spearheading environmental conservation through the internet within the Seychelles and across the Western Indian Ocean shelf”. The glowing citation doesn't end there and pays homage to Nature Seychelles for encouraging   "other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to embrace new media technologies for environmental conservation.  In addition, Nature Seychelles managed to use the youth’s skills and creativity to spread the message of ICT and the environment on the fragile islands ecosystems within Seychelles.”

Speaking after the award ceremony Shah noted: “This is a moment of great pride for the entire Seychelles Archipelago and the whole community of Small Island Developing States. The win is not just a Nature Seychelles achievement; it is a great accomplishment for the Seychellois people. It is an honour and a morale booster for our nation that we are indeed endowed with both talent and resilience for coming out the best in the entire African continent.”

At the Nature Seychelles offices’ the news of the award coming to Seychelles has been received excitedly. “This is indeed a big win for Seychelles. Our work in using ICTs with the youth and partners like Nortel Communications to spread the environment message has led us to receive international recognition and this is just an overwhelming thrill.” Kerstin Henri, Nature Seychelles’ Projects Coordinator says. [ENDS]

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