Faro Surf Club
Camara Municipal de Faro
Centro Europe Direct Algarve
What better place to learn about our oceans and shores, their importance and what can be done to protect them, than one of the most unique coastal lagoons in Europe? This is what we'll do in Ria Formosa with teenagers and young adults, where we will take them on kayak or SUP tours and have conversations with researchers, activists, fishers, community leaders, etc., and experience first hand the benefits of a healthy marine environment and of engaging in its conservation.
Faro, Algarve Region, Southern Portugal
Even in a maritime country as Portugal, people tend to be blissfully unaware of the diversity and important role that the marine and coastal ecosystems play. This is especially true for the teenagers and young adults, who are usually immersed in a very challenging personal phase of their lives, and that also are usually excluded as targets of the majority of the ocean awareness initiatives. In Algarve in particular, where most job opportunities are linked to seasonal and mass-orientated tourism industry, it is urgent to show to the next generation entering the workforce and, most importantly, the generation who will be faced with the consequences of the unsustainable way we have been treating our planet, how things need to change and how they have the power to be a part of the solution.
Besides Sciaena collaborators - who will tell about their experiences in influencing national and EU decision processes to take into account environmental concerns - we will invite researchers, fishers, touristic operators, community leaders, business owners, and others, to tell how they are working effectively and successfully in careers and businesses that contribute to the preservation and use sustainably the natural marine resources. The objective is that the participants are inspired by and acquainted with effective ways to engage, participate and act. An emphasis will be given always to the ways where citizens can engage in the definition of public policies.
The target audience will be teenagers and young adults from schools and social institutions of the Faro area, of ages between 15 and 25. We will look to engage a broad spectrum of social and economical backgrounds, but we will focus specifically on socially excluded groups, such as migrant and underprivileged communities. In total, we intend to take 450 to 525 teenagers/young adults out on tours. Besides conservationists and researchers, we will engage local fishers and shellfish farmers/pickers, touristic operators, recreational fishers, divers and community leaders. The objective is precisely to show how all stakeholder groups need to be engaged and how they can all perform their activities without risking the environmental sustainability of the local coastal and marine ecosystems.
-Meetings with Faro Surf Club to define the format and calendar of the tours; and with Faro Municipality, local schools and social institutions to define and schedule the tours;
Contacts with researchers, local fishers and shellfish pickers, touristic operators, recreational fisherman, divers, community leaders, etc., to define the participants in each tour;
Creation of “scripts” to serve as guidelines for each tour. The aim is to have the conversations happen as fluidly as possible, but the “scripts” will ensure that the key messages about ocean conservation, democratic processes, civic education, social integration and green entrepreneurship will be delivered in each and every tour;
Execution of the actual tours;
Elaboration of a report (highly visual);
Closing event of the project.
If we are successful, a year after the project we will have 450 to 525 teenagers/young adults in the Faro area who will be:
- More knowledgeable of the importance of oceans and shores and what they can do to protect them;
- More conscious of the democratic and civic processes by which they can have an active role in our society;
- Inspired to know that there are careers and activities that they can follow that are rewarding, profitable and environmentally sustainable;
- More prone to start or continue to engage in aquatic sports.
We will also have a network of entities and people in the Faro area that are aware of all the issues mentioned above and that will be more prone to partner with Sciaena in future projects.
Sciaena has engaged in European and National democratic process related to the conservation of the marine environment for more than ten years and we will ensure that throughout the tours relevant information about these will be transferred to the participants. Most importantly, the immense possibilities and profound need for engagement of the younger generation in these processes will be an underlying issue during the tours, and we will aim to demystify some of the existing preconceptions around democratic processes. The laid back, informal and testimonial format we will deploy will strike a chord with the teenagers/young adults that participate in the tours and solidify the democracy concepts they have been receiving through more conventional pathways.
Our main motivation is the incredible and biodiverse Ria Formosa. Sciaena was created on its shores and we believe that it has and can be the beating heart of the Faro area. We also know that we will only be able to save it from the huge environmental threats it faces if we get the people and institutions of the area to really look at it the same way we do - knowing that it will only survive if we keep it healthy and develop sustainable businesses to use its natural resources. Finally, we have been doing tours along the lines of what we propose, although only occasionally because they are done on a voluntary basis. We have experienced first hand the power of what we are proposing and we know that with the right resources, we reach many people and make it a long lasting, positive initiative
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Sciaena Staff costs - 12.000€
(project coordination, communications, design, marine sciences expertise)
Tour expenses - 7.500€
(kayak and SUP materials, Faro Surf Club instructor, other materials)
Insurance and Transport for the participants - 3.000€
Outreach materials - 500€
Closing event - 1.000€
I guess as we are not so used to engaging with socially-excluded communities, advice on that area would be welcome. But all advice will be welcome!