Tiny Island Volunteers Introducing the Ocean Ambassadors

Maldives Promotion House – The famous island NGO, Tiny Island Volunteers has taken another major step in helping the local island communities in Maldives. They have launched their Ocean Ambassador program, a program aimed at helping the youth from these tiny scattered islands of Maldives to become professional divers.

Tiny Island Volunteers aim to sponsor community members to become dive instructors while also enabling them to learn a greater knowledge of the ocean and the Maldivian reefs. According to the team they hope the participants, or the Ocean Ambassadors will be able to in turn help promote conservation within their own communities.

“The island communities are in a way isolated and they don’t usually have the opportunities that everyone else living in the capital city Malé has. So we’re trying to give them something that they can use both to develop their careers as well as to create awareness among their own communities about conservation,” CEO of Tiny Island Volunteers, Hana Thompson said.

According to TIV, the funds from their volunteer program will be used to train the Ocean Ambassadors. The program is currently focusing on participants who are native to the islands apart from the city, due to the lack of opportunities and dive schools in those islands. The trainees will also get the opportunity to work alongside the volunteers and will be trained by Lazy Gecko, a dive school based in Noonu Atoll Velidhoo.

“For every three volunteers that we bring in we will be able to train one Ocean Ambassador. So this program has a lot of potential to expand. As we are working with Lazy Gecko, our capacity is a little bit limited. But since the open water course isn’t such a long course we will be able to continuously take in participants. We already have two Ocean Ambassador students, Ahmed Ibrahim and Abdulla Jalaal, both residents of Velidhoo,” Hana added.

During this year’s World Travel Market, Tiny Island Volunteers also won the first ever Responsible Tourism Award, the Highly Commended award as the Best Volunteering Organisation in Maldives, for organising volunteers to help island communities in need across Maldives.

Initially geared towards bringing in foreign volunteers for the islands, Tiny Island Volunteers is also involved in marine conservation in Maldives, especially the conservation of sea turtles. They also run Tiny Island Conservation which is their Maldivian NGO. The conservation works in collaboration with other island NGOs like Naifaru Juvenile and Velidhoo Future Foundation.

“The judges were impressed by the range of activities which a relatively small organisation like Tiny Islands is able to support in the Maldives and the way in which a different form of tourism is being used to bring opportunities and development to the less developed islands,” The Managing Director of Responsible Tourism, Justin Francis said.

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