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UK trainer shows staff how to make interactive environment centres
Implores them to use Botanical Gardens as an open classroom
 
Victoria 4th August-The head of education in United Kingdom's (UK) Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Mrs Gail Bromley, has said that Botanical Gardens and similar environmental conservation sites could be used as open classrooms where visitors could learn about the place of man in his environment.
The sites could be used as interactive environment centres to increase people's awareness of their important relationship with the environment and to awaken a desire to contribute to environmental conservation.
Mrs Bromley was speaking at the Botanical Gardens recently where she conducted a five-day seminar organised by the Parks and Gardens Division of the Ministry of Environment and Transport.
Addressing 15 participants who were park rangers, Botanical Gardens staff, the environment coordinator of environment education in the Ministry of Education and staff of the Natural History Museum and Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles leaders, she said that games could be incorporated in various centres. This, she went on to say, could encourage visitors to the centres to explore scientific concepts and thereby gain a better understanding of the environment and biodiversity.
She introduced them to 20 different games which could be introduced to make visits to places like the botanical gardens fun and more educational.
According to the director of the Botanical Gardens at Mont Fleuri, Mr Didier Dogley, the workshop, which was funded by the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) Wildlife and Kew Gardens, had been organised because there was a need for people, particularly children to make better use of the Botanical Gardens. This, she said, would make it an educational centre where visitors could learn about, and appreciate the natural environment.
During the workshop, which was conducted at the Gardens between July 25 and July 28, the participants learned about good guidance techniques and how to use plants as a focus for children's topics. They were also introduced to some of the skills necessary to create specific educational trails and games and explored ways to encourage use of the botanical gardens as an interactive learning centre.
The participants also learned about the important role of environmental education for sustainable development and familiarised themselves with various conventions, for example the one on biological diversity, particularly Agenda 21 of the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Development.
In addition, they also learned how to produce packs, educational boxes and other educational materials based on different environmental topics for different groups of audiences.
During the five days, the participants took part in a variety of group work and practical activities within the gardens, which they said have enabled them to understand biological interdependence and the effects of various actions and decisions on the local and global environment.
Similar group work and activities could be devised, they said, and could used with visitors to the gardens in order to develop people's awareness, attitudes and values so that they could be involved in conservation actions.
One of the participants, Miss Nada Francourt expressed great satisfaction saying: "I am now better prepared to assist different groups of visitors especially school children in more interactive learning activities when they come to the gardens."
Others said that the workshop had proved to them that the gardens could provide a lot of cross-curricular opportunities for teachers in schools.
Another workshop is expected to be held for teachers and wildlife club leaders in the future. Some of the participants of this previous workshop are expected to act as facilitators in the future seminar.
 
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Workshop on child protection issues opens Friday at SIM

Victoria 4th August-A two-day workshop with the aim of equipping social workers and probation officers with information on provisions within the law dealing with issues such as family violence and child protection, opens Friday at the Seychelles Institute of Management (SIM), Victoria.
The workshop, which is being organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Manpower Development, will bring together over 30 probation officers and social workers who deal on a day-to-day basis with matters relating to the workshop’s themes.
The Secretary to the Family Tribunal Mr Brassel Adeline and State Counsel Mr Wilby Lucas will conduct the workshop.
According to Mr Adeline, besides covering provisions within the law relating to family violence and child protection, the workshop will also provide the opportunity for the participants to learn more about the functioning of the Family Tribunal, the procedures for registering cases at the Tribunal and the difference between the Family Tribunal and the Secretariat of the Family Tribunal.
The knowledge to be gained from the workshop, according to Mr Adeline, would put the participants in a better position to deal with any queries and/or to offer advice to their clients.
Mr Adeline said there were many provisions within the law dealing with such matters, for example, the Children’s Act, the Penal and Civil Code, the Matrimonial Code, the Education Act and the ILO and Hague’s Conventions.
All these provisions, Mr Adeline noted, deal with the rights and protection of children.
He added that it was to the advantage of both the social workers and probation officers to know about these provisions.

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British parliamentarians on official visit
 
Victoria 3rd August-Six parliamentarians from the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) today start a week-long official visit to Seychelles.
Announcing the visit National Assembly Speaker Francis MacGregor, the delegation's host, told Seychelles Nation yesterday that it formed part of an exchange programme between the local CPA branch and that of the UK.
"We enjoy very good relations with the UK branch of the CPA and the visit is testimony of that relationship," Speaker MacGregor explained.
Five of the six Members of Parliament (MPs) are from the House of Commons and the other from the House of Lords. Both the ruling Labour Party and opposition Conservative Party are represented in the delegation.
The delegation is led by Labour MP Thomas McAvoy who arrived in Seychelles on Monday. Mr McAvoy has been Member of Parliament for Glasgow Rutherglen since 1987.
Two other members of the delegation, Brian Donohoe (Labour) and Denis Murphy (Labour), also arrived on Monday. Mr Donohoe is the MP for Cunninghame South while Mr Murphy represents Wansbeck in the House of Commons.
The rest of the delegation arrive today. They are Peter Atkinson, the Conservative MP for Hexham; Baroness Whitaker (Janet Alison) representing Labour in the House of Lords and Conservative MP Keith Simpson.
The National Assembly secretariat has organised a busy programme of activities for the British MPs including calls on Speaker MacGregor, Deputy Speaker Shelton Jolicoeur, Leader of Government Business Dr Patrick Herminie and Leader of the Opposition Mr Wavel Ramkalawan.
They will also call on several government ministers, officials and representatives of non-governmental organisations including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
A tour of Mahe and a reef safari also feature on the programme.
After the official visit, which ends on August 8, most of the MPs will stay on for a brief holiday.
This is the second visit to Seychelles by parliamentarians from the UK branch of the CPA. The first delegation visited the country in 1997.
Speaker MacGregor said the visit was also testimony of the good health of parliamentary democracy in Seychelles.
He added that the sharing of experience between the two sides would enable Seychelles to bolster its democratic institution even further.
 
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Dredging
Historical telecom cables surface
 
Victoria 3rd August-While the dredgers have been digging up the seabed in Victoria harbour to create new land, the machines have also been scooping up bits of our history from the shallow waters.
Two weeks ago, when the Jerommeke was on its last assignment in the yacht basin, its huge mechanical hoe brought to the surface part of the submarine telecommunications cables that linked Seychelles to the outside world before the advent of high frequency radio and satellites.
Like spaghetti on a fork, lengths of the cables kept getting entangled around the hoe as the dredger went about its operations.
Parts of the cables can now be clearly seen resting on the enlarged Hodoul island.
With the development of telegraphic communication in the second half of the 19th century, Seychelles gained its place on the world telecommunications map.
On the 29th March 1893, the Eastern and South African Telegraphic Company was granted a contract to establish a telegraph cable connecting Zanzibar with Seychelles, thence to Mauritius. On 11th November a cable ship named Scotia successfully completed the laying of that first cable, linking for the very first time Seychelles to Zanzibar and thereby to the outside world.
Before the laying of the cable, Seychelles’ only means of communications with the outside world was by ships plying between India and Europe, calling in Victoria haphazardly.
By 1902 the Victoria telegraph station, now Cable & Wireless, had become an important Indian Ocean cable relay station.
In 1922 another cable passed through the Seychelles to link Aden to Colombo.
In the late 1960s HF radio links were gradually replacing the submarine telegraph cables as a communication medium around the world.
The Seychelles to Aden cable was abandoned on 31st October 1968, after 46 years of service.
Following the opening of a receiving station at Bon Espoir and a transmission station at St Louis Hill, the last submarine cable linking Seychelles to Zanzibar was abandoned on the 22nd May 1971, after 78 years of service.
Churning of the seabed by bigger dredger Marco Polo also brought to the surface sections of the cables during its operations further out at sea at the entrance to Port Victoria. The cables, after passing through the yacht basin, reached the shore at the Esplanade - which bordered the sea then - to be connected to Cable & Wireless’ equipment in Mercury House.

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Local musicians benefit from Jazz maestro’s expertise
 
Victoria 3rd August-Jazz virtuoso George Lee who mesmerised audiences with his dazzling musical skills during last week’s Jazz Festival, had the chance to impart some of his expertise to local musicians during a half-day workshop Wednesday.
Held at the School of Music, Mont Fleuri, the workshop was attended by a number of musicians, including music instructors and students from the School of Music.
According to Mr Lee, the workshop, which consisted mainly of practical sessions, offered him the opportunity to get better acquainted with local jazz artistes.
It was important, he said, for the local musicians to practice jazz on a daily basis so that it becomes part of their lives.
The Jazz maestro noted that local jazzmen had good talents, but lack practice.
During the workshop the artistes got the opportunity to analyse different jazz and blues rhythms and practice chord changes, in addition to learning different techniques.
According to participant Golbert Nourrice, who plays the saxophone, he has benefited a lot from the workshop which, he said, had given him the chance to review his scales.
He said the course had also made him realise that even if one specialises in a specific instrument, a knowledge of other musical instruments was also important.
George Lee is a multi-instrumentalist with a list of credentials and experience un-matched in any previous Jazz festival held locally. He plays the saxophone, piano, flute, African drums, and is also a singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and music educator.
A native of Ghana, resident in South Africa, George Lee, also known as ‘Big G’ began his musical career at 18 when he created the band Ghana Messengers, setting in motion a new trend in Ghanaian High-Life music with the introduction of the bebop Jazz sound. Later he was commissioned by President Kwame Nkrumah to study the musical rhythms of native Ghanaian music before being sent as a musical ambassador to the 1962 Berlin World Fair.
From then on, George Lee’s musical career developed extensively, leading him into the world of theatre, film, working alongside major celebrities, such as Bob Marley, Johnny Nash, Cat Stevens, among others.
The local jazz festival formally ended Monday evening with a live concert.

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Scouts leave for 4th All Africa Jamboree
 
Victoria 3rd August-SOME sixty-five Seychellois scouts, including thirteen leaders, will be participating in the 4th All Africa Jamboree to be held at Rowallan Scout Camp and Jamhuri Park in Nairobi, Kenya from August 9 to 19, 2000.
The first group of twenty-seven scouts and leaders leave Seychelles today on Kenya Airways.
A second group of eighteen scouts and leaders will depart on Monday August 7 while the remaining ones will leave on Thursday August 10.
Among the sixty-five scouts are eleven less fortunate scouts whose participation has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Seychelles Children's Fund and other sponsors such as Beau Vallon Petrol Station.
The first two groups of scouts will be joined by a group of Kenyan scouts for a pre-Jamboree hospitality camp at the St Patrick Hill School from August 3 to 8, 2000.
The Seychelles Scouts delegation is being led by Seychelles Scouts Commissioner for International Relations, Mr John Marie, who will be assisted by a team of thirteen Area Commissioners/scout leaders.
Some 6000 scouts from all over Africa including some from Europe, America and Asia are expected to participate in the Jamboree which has as theme "Peace and Reconciliation".
The scouts’ participation at the Jamboree has been financed by the parents of the scouts, local benefactors and the sponsorship of the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB), Source d'Or, Indian Ocean Tuna Ltd (IOT), Sodepak and Kenya Airways, as well as with proceeds from fundraising activities by the scouts themselves.
The delegation will return to Seychelles on August 21 and 24, 2000.

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24 new buses arrive from India
Victoria 2nd August-Twenty-four new buses arrived from Bombay on board MV Ebony yesterday evening.
The buses, which comprised 20 TATA 1512s and four TATA 1612s will be deployed in the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation’s (SPTC) normal and contract services fleets respectively.
SPTC’s assistant traffic manager, Mr Desire Payet, said that the 20 forty-seater buses would be shared out between Mahe and Praslin where they were expected to improve on the efficiency of the bus company’s bus operations.
The organisation’s managing director and the workshop superintendent Messrs Daniel Gappy and David Jolicoeur visited India recently and verified that the vehicles had been built according to specifications stipulated by the company.
Speaking upon their return, Mr Gappy told the press that being equipped with environmentally friendly turbo-charged Cummins engines, which conform with Euro-1 standard for environmental protection, was among the criteria that the buses needed to meet.
The buses which arrived yesterday are the first consignment of a fleet that will eventually cost US$2 million.
Another 10 larger buses will follow later after special devices, which will be shipped into India from France, have been fitted.
On board the same vessel were spares worth US$300,000, being the first batch of a consignment worth US$750,000 that will be completed when the other buses come.

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University of the Indian Ocean (UIO)
Sensitisation seminar attracts wide participation
 
Victoria 2nd August-Some 50 officials and other representatives from different ministries and private organisations and associations attended a half-day sensitisation seminar on the training opportunities offered by the University of the Indian Ocean (UIO).
The seminar, aimed at making the UIO better known to the public, was held yesterday in the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Victoria.
The formation of UIO, its structure and functions, the courses it offers, how to qualify for a scholarship and the procedures to enrol, as well as the benefits it can bring to Seychelles, were some of the issues dealt with during the seminar.
It also offered an opportunity for participants to get to know the university's contact persons at national level.
Conducted by the university’s local coordinator Mrs Marina Confait, the seminar also saw the participation of the institution’s two former Seychellois students and a lecturer who talked about their experiences.
Mrs Confait was assisted by Mrs Marie-Therese Choppy, UIO's council member and Mrs Jeanette D'Offay, the Indian Ocean Commission’s permanent liaison officer.
Speaking at the opening of the seminar, Mrs Confait revealed that since the launching of the UIO in 1998, Seychelles had been awarded several scholarships from the institution, but had dropped most of them since no candidates had come forward to enrol on the courses offered.
She said that the poor response was due to what candidates claimed to be difficulties to express themselves in French, which is the main medium of instruction, while others had had reservations about certain venues proposed for some of the courses.
Mrs Confait however noted that the UIO also offered courses with English as the medium of instruction.
 
Seychelles Nation later learnt that local candidates had shown keen interest to attend a number of short environment-related courses run in English which were conducted last year and repeated this year.
Mrs Confait went on to explain that the courses offered by the UIO were in response to regional needs, and Seychelles could at the moment benefit from courses in three areas, namely environment, management of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and new technologies.
UIO also offers the opportunity for capacity building for member states without universities, assistance in research activities, and exchange of teachers in the region.
Mrs Confait appealed to those in top management level in the ministries and companies to promote among their staff the training opportunities offered by the UIO and encourage them to consider the university when applying for further training, since it was at a cheaper rate compared with training in other similar establishments elsewhere.
With regards to the function of UIO, Mrs Confait explained that it was not an ordinary "university with walls", but a network regrouping universities in the region, excluding Seychelles and the Comoros which have no universities. UIO's headquarters is based at the University of Reunion under the direction of a Comorian.
She pointed out that for Seychelles to be able to offer courses at the UIO level it must first upgrade its three main learning institutions, namely the Seychelles Polytechnic, the Seychelles Institute of Management (SIM) and the National Institute of Education (NIE). The countries of the region that can offer UIO courses at the moment are Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius.
The level and types of courses offered are MBAs, Diplomas in Environment, in Training of Trainers in SMEs, and in Development of energy, and Certificate in management of SMEs.
Currently, one local entrepreneur is attending a six-month course in Training of Trainers at the University of Reunion.

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Shoals of Capricorn projects
Marine discovery centre opens next week 
 
Victoria 1st August-A new marine discovery centre for the promotion of marine science and environmental awareness is due to open next week at the Natural History Museum.
A project of the Shoals of Capricorn, which has received the support of Barclays Bank Plc and Darwin Initiative, the centre is also intended to highlight the need for the continued protection of the marine environment.
Designed to attract both tourists and local visitors to the museum, the centre will have educational interactive exhibits in a variety of displays that have been developed to facilitate learning. They are also meant to encourage visitors to enter marine parks and thereby support the important work of marine environment conservation.
According to members of the Shoals of Capricorn, the centre will feature information panels wherever possible, with written information in English and Creole, in an effort aimed at highlighting the importance of protected marine areas. The exhibits will also provide a firm example of museums being proactive in the conservation of marine diversity.
Among the exhibits to be set up will be a three dimensional (3D) topographic model depicting specific habitats to be found within Ste Anne Marine Park.
Three other panels will show visitors how living things in the sea, from microscopic plankton to sharks and whales, are interdependent. This will include a "What am I" board showing three plankton stages, a "Who eats who? " poster and a "Reef fish state," illustration, identifying fish by their local names.
To complement the artificial reefs, a free-standing artificial graphic station "lift and look", featuring 8 pull-up cards, will provide an interactive aspect in the display. In addition to that, there will be "the coral animal" , a diagram "having Reef Builders" which will depict a cross-sectional diagram of the structure of a coral polyp informing visitors of how they feed and reproduce.
Another area of the centre will house the "Mini dig" which will provide the visitors with an opportunity to actively participate in a small-scale marine artefact dig. Sifters will be used to find various "burrowers and nibblers" in a small sand mixture. When a species is found, visitors can follow a "branching-tree" diagram to determine the identity of the species.
An identification board with common sea-weeds found on Mahe will also be on display. A bulletin board will be hoisted to encourage visitors to contribute observations and opinions on how people can keep the ocean healthy. Scientific results of various ongoing researches will be posted on this board.
Recently, a marine science project competition was launched for school children. The winners’ work will also be displayed at the centre.

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Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace Assembly 2000
Mancham joins world leaders in forging a peaceful, brighter future
 
Victoria 1st August-Former President James R. Mancham has announced that he will be leaving Seychelles Friday to attend the Interreligious International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) Assembly 2000 which is to take place from August 17 to 20, 2000, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Mr Mancham has also agreed to be part of the conference International Advisory Council.
The former President will be among the 300 world leaders who will explore the theme "Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace: Toward a New Model of Global Cooperation in Addressing Critical Issues."
The IIFWP Assembly 2000 will feature sessions addressing critical issues such as sustainable development, conflict resolution, the environment, family breakdown and the role of NGOs.
The proceedings from this gathering will be published and made available to the United Nations Secretary General Kofi A. Annan and the various Permanent Representatives at the U.N. when this world organisation convenes the Millennium Summit in September, prior to its Millennium General Assembly.
At the Summit, the many Heads of State and Government in attendance will deliberate on the state of our world, both its problems and its possibilities, and consider ways in which, together, we might forge a brighter and more peaceful future for all.
This gathering has been described as a significant moment in our world's history – " a time to review the past. A time to form a vision for the future."
In a statement issued Monday, Mr Mancham said that he would like to quote from the message which the U.N. Secretary General issued in Paris last year on the occasion of the launching of the International Year of the Culture of Peace: "For there to be peace among Nations, there must also be peace within them, among groups and individuals. The Charter of UNESCO says it best: ‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.’ This is no small project. In fact it is a comprehensive enterprise, a global mission that requires a transformation in our thinking, massive amounts of political will and resources, and the solidarity of all humankind."
 

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