Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius and to the Republic of Seychelles

Portrait: Meet with Anael Bodwell

03/06/2016 - 12:02
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23 years old Co-founder of the association SYAH Seychelles

“There are no stronger ties than women who empower other women”

You have organised a cleaning action in the framework of an EU initiative for climate action. Tell us about your experience.

In November 2015, SYAH Seychelles received f unds from the European Union to organise a mass clean up activity at the La Retraite playing field. The landmark event was attended by over 100 youth from across the country. The activity was a joint collaboration between the association, Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S) and the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC). It was actually spearheaded by four very active young ladies; namely Karine Rassool, Zara Pardiwalla, Angelique Pouponneau and myself. With the help of different partners, a collective and determined spirit we managed to rid the playing field of two truckloads of waste in one afternoon. The task was one applauded by local media , the Seychellois Minister for environment and the EU Ambassador. Looking back to the event, the “Bann Zil Pli Prop” campaign built a strong tie between us the organisers. My experience has been a memorable one because of the national exposure and partnership opportunities that was offered to SYAH Seychelles following the event. I faced a few challenges which I believe is valuable in order to lead other similar projects in the future, mainly the mobilization of people and resources. But in the end, the project was a success and one that we agreed to declare as an annual initiative. In fact, plans have already begun to conduct cleanups around Seychelles this year .

Do you think that this action had an impact?

As for the impact of the project on the community, it sensitized people on the importance of the 3 Rs: reuse, reduce and recycle. I was extremely pleased to see children as young as 10 years old that day taking the pledge to “become eco - warriors” or “protectors of nature”. I feel that we really got the message across and that is something that has truly in spired me. To be able to make an impact on people and the environment around you is a really good feeling.

You are a founding member of SYAH Seychelles. Why do you think that women empowerment is so important?

Gender equality has always been one of our unspoken but core values in SYAH Seychelles, and we respect each other a lot. We also firmly believe in empowering each other because the success of one member is the success of the whole association. On a personal basis, I believe that women empowerment is the gateway to a knowledgeable, resilient and value - based society . Women have shaped the society we live in today in the forms of mothers, sisters, teachers, and leaders among others. So just as men, who have this strong bond of ‘brotherhood’, we also as women need to have the same strong ties by rejoicing in the success of each other and empowering our fellow females.

  • The cleaning action in Seychelles is part of a larger campaign "Be for Climate action: Join us for ban zil pli prop" launched by of the European Union and its Member States in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in the framework of the European Year for Development and of the 21st COP 21 Conference.
  • The campaign which started on 21 October 2015 in Moroni (Comoros) consisted in several cleaning actions and sensitisation activities in Rodrigues, Seychelles (Mahe), Anjouan and Mohéli (Comoros) and Mauritius. The objective of EU climate action is to encourage the citizens, in particular the young generation, to actively engage in the fight against climate change, and to become aware of the harmful consequences of human activities over the environment.
  • SIDS Youth AIMS Hub (SYAH) Seychelles is a youth - led Non - Government Organisation promoting and advancing youth - led sustainable development projects . It is the Seychelles chapter of a regional network of young people on Small Island Development States (SIDS) in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea (AIMS).