- 110 Solomon Islands youth now certified divers
- 20 more sponsored youth now in the programme
- More youth sponsors invited to join the programme
SOLOMON Airlines, Dive Munda and Agnes Gateway Hotel are marking International Youth Day 2021, celebrating 12 months of their successful Youth Diver Sponsorship programme, and by confirming their ongoing commitment.
The partners will also mark the occasion by bringing six youth from Auki, Honiara and Gizo together with youth in Munda to each undertake a Scuba Schools International SSI ‘Advanced Adventurer’ diving course.
After the closure of international borders in 2020, the national carrier, dive operator and popular hotel joined forces to do something positive for Solomon Islands youth.
Together they created a ‘Learn to Dive’ Youth Sponsorship Programme, inviting individuals or families, businesses and organisations to join them in sponsoring dive training for eligible Solomon Islands youth.
In Phase One of the programme, 110 sponsored youth (60% female, 40% male) received their initial dive training.
During the current Phase Two of the programme launched on 31 July, 2021, a further 20 sponsorships have already been pledged with 10 youth already receiving initial dive training, and two female youth receiving additional training to become dive professionals.
Other projects include youth experience dives, beach clean-ups, coral restoration. Phase Three of the programme is also in development.
“International Youth Day is the one year anniversary of starting the project to encourage more youth to learn to dive and support our ocean environment, and it has been an outstanding success,” said Belinda Botha Operations Director at Dive Munda.
“Initially, we aimed to train 50 youth to dive by the end of 2020, and due to enthusiastic response from sponsors and youth applicants, we far exceeded that goal.
“We were delighted to received sponsorships from all over the globe, including from corporations and individuals,” she said.
“The theme of this year’s International Youth Day highlights potential solutions developed by young innovators around the world to address challenges to our food systems, issues such biodiversity loss, threats to our environment and much more.
“This is very relevant to the preservation of our oceans as a major food source.
“Oceans sustain us and by introducing our youth to different disciplines within the diving world, we aim to expand their knowledge, capability and ability to drive the sustainability of our ocean ecosystem well into the future,” she said.
Colin Sigimanu Manager Commercial for Solomon Airlines agreed.
“This is a very valuable opportunity for young Solomon Islanders to gain new skills and become certified divers under a sponsored programme,” he added.
“Young people need help, mentoring and sponsorship to develop their skills and knowledge, so they too can take their place in our future dive and tourism industries and in turn help educate more people about the vital need to protect our unique environment,” he said.
“Solomon Islands already is referred to as one of the world’s most desirable dive destinations and that is very important for our tourism future,” he added.
“Solomon Airlines is very proud to support this programme, it is an example of what can be done in times of adversity when partners put their heads together to focus on mutual opportunities for the future.”
HOW TO DONATE OR SPONSOR YOUTH DIVER TRAINING
Under Phase Two of the programme, in partnership with Agnes Gateway Hotel, Solomon Airlines, Scuba Schools International, Blue Oceans Program. Coral Sea Foundation and Plasticwise Solomon Islands, sponsors can contribute to support the development of youth including:
- Training local girls certified under Phase 1 to launch a Munda plastic recycling project
- Training local youth certified under Phase 1 to spearhead a coral restoration & rehabilitation program
- Supporting monthly beach and underwater clean-up dives
- Sponsoring a local youth to do the SSI Advanced Adventurer certification course for AUD$250
“In Phase Two we are continuing dive education for the certified youth, and we are keeping them diving with a beach and underwater clean-up program, starting with our very own coral restoration, identification and rehabilitation project in Munda, and our “Stop Plastic Pollution” project.
“We are also aiming to train more local female dive instructors,” she said.
To help continue Dive Training and Ocean Preservation education for Solomon Islands Youth, sponsors can participate in the programme by emailing Dive Munda on [email protected].