In an initiative to promote the sustainable use and management of the Barima-Mora Passage, ten hinterland schools in Region One are set to benefit from an Education and Awareness Programme. This passage, revered for its biodiversity, is home to several species listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, including the majestic Jaguars, Giant River Otters, and Harpy Eagles. It is also home to the largest intact mangrove system in Guyana.
The programme, a brainchild of the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS) and supported by SBM Offshore Guyana, aims to target primary schools in communities such as Morawhanna, Imbotero, Smith’s Creek, and more. Secondary schools in Mabaruma, Region One, are also on the list. Launched on July 25, 2023, the programme is structured in four phases, with the inaugural phase emphasizing mangrove conservation and management.
A series of animated videos and booklets, highlighting the significance of the flora and fauna within the Barima-Mora Passage Mangrove ecosystem, will be introduced to schools. This collaboration will also lead to the establishment of wildlife and environmental clubs, further emphasizing the passage’s importance.
The programme’s significance was celebrated with the launch of the inaugural Wildlife Festival in Mabaruma on July 26, coinciding with the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem. Participating schools engaged in a variety of educational and cultural activities, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the mangroves and the diverse wildlife of the Passage.
Martin Cheong, General Manager of SBM Offshore Guyana, expressed his hopes for the programme, stating, “With the establishment of the wildlife and environmental clubs, I hope to see an integrated learning approach that will open the minds of the children of Region One to the protection and care of the wildlife of the Barima-Mora Passage. I also hope this programme will foster sustainable resource use, encourage our children to actively pursue learning more about the nation’s biodiversity, and take steps to protect our environment.”
Annette-Arjoon Martins, Environmentalist and Director of the GMCS, lauded SBM Offshore Guyana’s support, emphasizing the long-term benefits of their collaboration. “This support by SBM [Offshore Guyana] has been unprecedented in terms of what we have done in terms of the past decade of our existence, where we have secured a multi-year programme. So, we don’t have to be worrying every year where the next set of funding is coming from. So, I really want to thank SBM [Offshore Guyana] for coming onboard with us long-term on this multi-year project, which I can guarantee they would be very, very pleased with,” she stated.
During the launch on July 25, the Regional Education Officer, Elly Peterkin expressed her gratitude to the Guyana Marine Conservation Society for their initiative, saying, “I want to thank you all for considering my primary and secondary school children. Now, I believe if they can have that knowledge from the school level, imagine what they can do as they get older and we talk about the career paths that they can take in this field. I am so elated because they are the ones who are fortunate, they are getting the hands-on experience and I want to thank you for that, thank you for giving my children that.”
Regional Chairman, Brentnol Ashley said, “I am very grateful that education is being used to pilot these awareness sessions that are taking place, and I want to thank SBM [Offshore Guyana] for their support to these projects.”
In addition to the company’s support for the Education and Awareness Programme on the Barima-Mora Passage, SBM Offshore Guyana also donated laptops and printers to Aruka Primary School, sports gear to the White-Water Sports Club and laptops to the top performers of the Hosororo Primary School, who excelled at the National Grade Six Assessment.
SBM Offshore Guyana said its support for the educational pursuits and academic prowess of the indigenous communities in Guyana, is in alignment with their adaptation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Number Four, Quality Education and Goal Number Ten, Reduced Inequality.