Enabling An Ocean Of Lifelong Learning
ENABLING AN OCEAN OF LIFELONG LEARNING
Despite the fact that a large portion of the Vietnamese economy is held by ocean-related industries, Vietnam has no operational coast guard, and up to 90 per cent of Vietnamese children cannot swim. The effects of fossil fuels, over-fishing, endangered habitats and biodiversity loss has begun to threaten the livelihoods of Vietnam’s fishermen. The Vietnamese fishing community is arguably the most vulnerable and unschooled in the country, and MANTA seeks to transfer the fishermen’s ocean skills to sail and ocean survival training for children.
MANTA supports the achievement of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals through this initiative. Not only do the fishermen teach sailing and climate change survival skills to large groups of children in line with international curricula, but the Centre places a strong emphasis on gender equality, with females making up 52 per cent of all children taught to date. Over 2,000 students have now been taught by 15 fishing families.
The curriculum offered to students by the fishermen follows international school requests to develop the students’ survival skills on land, focusing on life’s essentials (air, water, food, energy). Some of the activities that explore these elements are:
- Yoga (for air)
- Distillation and condensation of sea water to rock salt and fresh water (for water)
- Distillation of fruit peels for extraction of essential oils (for food)
- Aquaponics or Climate Change Cookbook and Olympic sports diet (for food)
- Making small solar panels/using magnifying glasses, plus sailing (for air and energy)
- Sourcing DIY bio batteries from cultivated algae (for energy)
- Cleaning beaches and zero-waste awareness campaigns for reducing pollution
The former fishermen follow the World Sailing guidelines for sailing, which is aligned with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Since national pride can be more motivating and unifying than ocean conservation alone, MANTA is connected with the Vietnam Olympic Committee and the national sailing team.
Vietnam’s 4,000km+ coastline is globally ranked 5th among most threatened by climate change, and zones approved for this sailing and survival training can double as conservation areas. MANTA hopes that students will take the skills they have learned back to their coastal provinces and spread this new knowledge to their communities.
In the future, MANTA aims to seek out further partnerships and sponsorship opportunities to increase sustainability, equality and scalability through more water sport programming, climate change survival skills workshops for local schools and a Learn-To-Swim program.
Not only does this strategy remove an environmental threat from destructive fishing methods, it also supports the re-skilling of fishermen, increases a sense of community and allows children to take a leadership role in environmental preservation for future generations.
MORE ABOUT MANTA SAIL TRAINING CENTRE
MANTA Sail Training Centre works in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation University and the National Sports University. With its affiliation with regional and international sail sport federations and Vietnam’s Olympic Committee, MANTA has developed Vietnam’s first National Sailing Plan. It aims to promote personal, social and environmental health and national pride by fostering a love of sailing sports.
Key to MANTA’s sailing initiative is marine conservation awareness. MANTA supports work on:
- The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (focusing on gender equity, poverty reduction and life under the sea)
- Alternative training and additional income for fishing families using their existing ocean skills to raise them above the poverty line and off endangered habitats
- The creation of Marine Protected Areas
- Waste and pollution reduction to protect the quality of natural resources underpinning water sports
- Engine power switch to wind power to reduce CO2e
- Replacing negative memories of the ocean during the Vietnam war with positive memories
MANTA is also working with marine mammal specialists and local fishermen to develop a marine mammal surveillance network.