Green Health Seychelles

Green Health Seychelles

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

With our Green Health Project we want harness nature's potential to improve people's physical, mental and spiritual health through exercise in nature.

The increasing complexity of both technological societies and the built environment is generally a source of many negative stress response patterns for the majority of people. In contrast, the natural environment has been found to have a restorative quality, particularly for people who live in urban environments. These factors can cause mental fatigue and exhaustion, whereas exposure to nature has been demonstrated to have the opposite effect.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The idea of green therapy is new to the Seychelles. We are the only organisation which is involved in this kind of work. Although in more developed nations this type of programme exists, this is one of a kind for the less-developed world. There has been innovation since the beginning of the project. The Sanctuary (where the activities take place) originated from coastal reclamation works carried out in 1986. Prior to Nature Seychelles taking over management it was a wasteland, of no value to neighbouring communities. In 2006, Nature Seychelles began a creative and complex wetland restoration project to bring new life to the site. The innovation did not end with the restoration and management of the wetland. Given its close proximity to the capital city Victoria and to the country’s national sports complex, there was a great desire to use the site in original ways to enrich the public and to engage local communities in such natural areas. Since its formal opening in 2008, as well as creating a place for wildlife, our vision for the park has been to welcome people here and to progressively use it for a range of green leisure or so-called ‘eco-therapy’ activities – offering leisure opportunities which harness the power of nature to improve our wellbeing.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our Green Project involves three components based on land at our headquarters in Victoria • Exercises and activities for children and adults – studies suggest that children function better both cognitively and emotionally in green environments. For adults, viewing nature improves concentration, remedies fatigue, improves psychological health, positively affects mood swings, reduces stress and helps people recover faster from stress. • Gardening and working with plants in the Heritage Garden – according to researchers gardening is among the most popular leisure pursuits in the world gardening. It has numerous physical and psychological benefits. Among its therapeutic benefits are that it helps people to feel tranquil and at peace and it improves their psychological wellbeing. Furthermore these benefits are conferred regardless of age. • Activities for rehabilitative restoration of vulnerable groups - studies show that vulnerable groups benefit from leisure activities in nature through enhanced self- esteem and sense of personal control. Negative results from such participation are virtually non-existent.
About You
Nature Seychelles
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Nature Seychelles

Organization Phone

00 248 4601100

Organization Address

PO Box 1310, Roche Caiman, Victoria

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

Originally we targeted the general public, aware that issues of wellbeing are common to all groups. However, a new phase of innovation in the project is about to begin. Use the Green Health project to rehabilitate recovering drug and acolohol users. The Seychelles is a medium developed country well known for its beautiful natural environment, high Human Development Index and peaceful people. However, the country is currently experiencing some major socio-economic problems, which may derail its development trajectory. In fact recent data seem to show that the resilience of Seychelles society is currently very low.

Substance abuse and dependence, and resulting HIV/AIDS prevalence, crime, unemployment and prostitution, is seen as the single most serious health and socio-economic problem in Seychelles today.

It is this community which the new project will target. There are several examples in Europe of the use of nature to overcome addiction. Working with recovering addicts the programme offers self-actualisation through the
guiding principles of:
• building self-esteem and confidence;
• learning deferred gratification;
• team working;
• personal development through both in house and external courses;
• learning respect for the environment;
• producing tangible results to input;
• learning and developing social skills;
• promoting healthy lifestyles.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Nirmal Shah has been instrumental in shaping Seychellois civil society’s response to the environmental challenge by founding and chairing the only environmental youth NGO, WildLife Clubs of Seychelles, and by being the Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, the largest NGO in Seychelles. He has run projects on restoration of various islands, species rehabilitation and research including the Magpie robin Recovery Program and the National Seabird Project, environmental education such as SPLASH (Special Program on Learning for Species and Habitats), and grass roots conservation activities such as LEAP (Local Environment Action Program). He is involved in advocacy for sound policy and legislation through key national committees including being Chair of the National Committee on ISO 14001 (the international environmental standard). His passion for nature and innovative led him to think about exploring other areas where nature can contribute to society. The alarming rise in drug use in Seychelles provided the impetus to try and use nature for good and this was the foundation stone for the Green Health project

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

To date the project has been running for just over a year. There are five classes a week for different ages. In that time more than 750 people have attended classes. Once we start to work with rehabilitating drug and alcohol users we expect to see 250 people over 18 months. The training and mentoring there received with be accredited to provide them with new qualificatin which will give them a real opportunity to kickstart their lives.

How many people have been impacted by your project?


How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?


Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Within six months we plan to have started two new green health session for recovering drug and alcohol users and be developing other modules for their continued rehabilitation

Task 1

Build a partnership with local health service providers who currently oversee rehabilitation of drug and alcohol users

Task 2

Establish a protocol for managing clients on site

Task 3

Capacity build within the partnership by bringing in experts from overseas to maximise the potential for success in the project

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Two have run four modules with green health with recovering drug users and alcoholics including exercise and gardening modules. To begin to see real change in participating clients

Task 1

Create and deliver a monitoring and evaluation plan for the programme

Task 2

Ensure sufficient resources are available to deliver the programme

Task 3

Communicate the successes of the project o partners and the wider community

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Drug and alcohol users are only one group of vulnerable people who could benefit from conservation and gardening therapy. Follow the work with this group we would look to expand into other areas which would offer benefits for the individual and society such as working with prisoners and disabled groups. There is much need in the Seychelles, all that prevents us from moving into these areas is the resources to do so.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The main issue will revolve around the continuity of the participants. We need people to get ininvolved and stay involved. To ensure this we will look for guidance from the care service providers. We will also be getting families involved which will hopefully also improve the chances of clients staying the course

Tell us about your partnerships

Our partnership work at two levels. There is a core partnership of three parties, ourselves a local rehabiliation centre and the National Drug and Advisory Board. This partnership will be responsible for the management of the project.
There is also a wider stakeholder group involving other NGOs and government departments with an interest in social rehabilitation. This group will be encouraged to take part in the project at relevant stages.

Explain your selections

Part of the programme is to involve family and friends of the clients who attend the programme. This will help to make sure that clients remain on the programme and give them support. The Seychelles government is currently promoting a campaign of social renaissance. This project will integrate with this and the government supports this project through the involvement of parastatial organisations such and the local rehabilitation centres and National Drug and Alcohol Council

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Given the innovative nature of this project here in the Seychelles, once we have shown the success of the project we will seek to work with government and other NGOs. We will use these connections to build our work and explore new areas to expand into.

Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Lack of physical access to care/lack of facilities


Limited human capital (trained physicians, nurses, etc.)


Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Many rehabilitation centres simply lack the facilities to carry out the kind of therapy work that we are proposing. By combining with local care providers we can offer them a new world off resources.

By bringing in overseas experts to build capacity we can bring a new area of training into the workplace in the Seychelles, which would otherwise not be available.

This type of restorative therapy is culturally novel in the Seychelles. By being the first organisation to use it here we hope to reset cultural norms in this area and inspire others to follow our lead

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We are already engaged in the primary pathway. We have for a long time been simply a conservation organisation. We are now repositioning ourselves to be relavent to other sectors i.e. the health sector, in order to maintain our growth and increasing our effectiveness

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, NGOs/Nonprofits, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

These collaborations have given us access to increased resources and new audiences for our services. Every new partner you have gives you and expert guide to a new perspective on your work which you can then utilise to achieve your goals