Oceans Project Georgia
Oceans Project Georgia is a 31 week environmental education course aimed at young people aged 8-25years old in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. It not only offers education about how to look after the world around us, but also helps develop skills in English and communication, film making, personal development, team building, snorkelling, science, fundraising, and business management.
The project is based on the BBC Oceans television series and benefits greatly from the support of our Patrons, BBC Oceans Presenter and Expedition Leader Paul Rose, and Record breaking ocean rower Sarah Outen MBE, who was the first female and youngest person ever to row solo across the Indian Ocean.
All of our young people have the chance to enter the Volvo Adventure/United Nations Environmental competition and to represent Georgia in Sweden along with young people from around the world, and to gain qualifications as BSAC Snorkel Divers. As part of Oceans Project Georgia, those who are aged between 14-25years also have the chance to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh/International Award for Young People which involves 1 hour per week of voluntary service to their community, 1 hour a week working on their personal physical fitness, one hour a week learning a new skill, and time spent outdoors on adventurous activities such as camping and map reading with their team. The International Award is offered at bronze, silver and gold levels, and is designed as a personal challenge rather than a competition against others. If they complete their Gold Award they will likely be invited to a special awards ceremony where they will be presented with their medal by one of the British Royal Family.
The International Award is currently offered in over 130 countries to around 7million young people, but until now, has never been offered in Georgia. Oceans Project Georgia is extremely lucky to offer this award, and with funding, we hope to take this award to more young people, including street and Roma children in Tbilisi, young offenders, and eventually into all schools and rural communities, as well as areas where young people are not able to mix due to political issues.
Oceans Project Georgia is so much more than an environmental education project. It also brings young people from different communities together and helps them to form what we hope will be lifelong friendships. We have around 80 young people in our pilot group, who speak 8 different first languages, but the only one they share is English. These groups include public and private schools, universities, IDPs, and refugees from two different areas who were involved in armed combat in 2008, we also have two orphans, and hope to take the project into other orphanages from September. As part of our adventurous training, we hope to invite International Award participants from the surrounding countries for a summer camp, and to start to establish links with other countries outside of Georgia.
The course culminates in a 2 week scientific research expedition with charity Earthwatch Institute and this will also allow us to meet with International Award participants in each country we visit. Our expeditions were carefully chosen to complement what we have been learning through the BBC Oceans television series each week, and we are in the process of writing an educational workbook which could potentially be sold with the BBC Oceans DVD to other countries such as Georgia which don't yet have funds or infrastructure to deliver environmental education or don't have a culture of volunteer action. We are still in the process of raising the funds that we desperately need to go on our expeditions and we are learning how to fundraise for this. Once on expedition, we plan to make educational materials for our Education through Expeditions web page as well as videos, using the skills we have been learning with a Georgian Film Producer. Through Education through Expeditions, we are already connected to school children and explorers around the world, and hope that peer to peer education will have a bigger impact than more traditional methods. OUr expeditions include two archaeology projects (Italy, UK), a shark conservation project in Belize, coral reef and mangrove conservation in the Bahamas, climate change in the Canadian arctic, Riverboat exploration of the Peruvian Amazon, snorkel ling with dolphins in Egypt, and climate change in the French Alps.
Between May and December, our Founder and Director hopes to join a team of three other British females, to row across the South Pacific Ocean in an attempt to raise money for charity, raise awareness of oceans and young people, set 4 world records, to collect scientific data, and to generate educational materials for our Education through Expeditions page. One of the main aims of the row is to inspire young people and also to show that adults can be inspired by the actions of young people, if we just give them the opportunity to shine.
Smart young people inspiring young people to be smart...love it.
Oceans Project Georgia