The Memorandum of Understanding was prepared and signed by University of Seychelles and Wildlife clubs of Seychelles on the 21st September 2012, in good faith and in the spirit of transparency and accountability so that both the University of Seychelles and Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles be able to collaborate to establish the Unisey Centre for Environmental Education (UCEE) that will benefit the people of Seychelles. The collaboration limit the risk of duplication of projects and programmes and provide ground work for both organizations to collaborate effectively in the implementation of future projects and programmes while also making available the lab for Unisey students.
The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to formalize and encourage Cooperation between the University of Seychelles and the Non-Governmental Organization Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles and with the common goal of establishing and running the Unisey Centre for Environmental Education (UCEE). To the entire challenging conservation problem Seychelles have encountered – protecting rare species, winning support for legislation, cleaning up a river, or sustainably management of our native forest. Inevitably, people are part of the problem and public education and outreach are essential and critical for the UCEE to address in the long term. Therefore effective education and outreach are essential for promoting conservation policy, creating (grass root) knowledgeable citizens and changing people’s behaviors.
The Unisey Centre for Environmental Education (UCEE) is located at Anse Royale University campus in one classroom converted with admin space, a small documentation corner, bench top and storage facilities for equipment. It also houses some life fresh aquatic animals, displays on marine turtles and wetlands models. It’s surrounding includes four types of ecosystems as natural resources for students field studies. This comprises of coastal zones (beaches), mangrove, rivers and terrestrial ecosystems. The river from the valley of Dan Kre still flows around the back of the university playing fields where a sizeable patch of marshland remains.
The key message for UCEE is Discover Investigate Learn. These three words drive all aspects of the work which takes place at the Centre. Students are encouraged to discover and investigate their local environment and to uncover the amazing world we live in. Learning underpins every aspect of the work at UCEE as student learning and achievement is our core business.
The visitors’ centre (UCEE) compliments the site by introducing visitors to rivers, mangroves and beach ecosystem throughout presentations, workshops, displays and field trips. The UCEE caters for day visits from students at all levels of schooling and reflects the UCEE Environmental Education capacity for Schools and youth groups requirements.
The Unisey Environmental Education Centre is operated by Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles and the Unisey Environmental Science Program with the aims of enabling students to develop a personal response to the environmental challenges they encounter in Seychelles, in the region and beyond and to obtain the skills needed in the field of environmental sciences. Seychelles offers a unique platform for environmental and ecological studies.
UCEE also provides a broad range of services and programs to schools so as to build environmental awareness with the aim of supporting the development of sustainable schools and to prepare students for the future environmental challenges that societies face.
Systematic planning, implementation and evaluation are the core focus for the UCEE mission for effective education and outreach programs. Many activities and special events have been successfully carried out. The successful approaches in the long term will be more focused on environment –based education, education for sustainability, and action projects for the schools visiting the UCEE. As a result of these visits, students acquire the principles at their school based clubs wildlife clubs and the eco school projects. Partnership with other environmental organization, agencies, ministries and other scholar institutions have created effective conservation education in the UCEE since 2013 till date.
However despite the dedication to develop conservation education programs at the UCEE to help school and youth groups understand environmental issues and develop an ethic that will support a host of conservation behaviors, it is difficult to measure program success by actual behavior changes. This is especially in regards to moving people to and from “awareness to action” which is not a simple task.