“Our vision is a world of informed ocean citizens – people who truly “think blue” and our mission is to accelerate access to ocean education, including via innovative approaches” stated Virtual Educa. The twenty year old initiative coordinated the Global Forum held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil which received over 29.000 participants and professionals from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
Virtual Educa was founded by the Organisation of the American States (OAS) and its member states in partnership with private sector technology partners focused on education such as Google, Microsoft, Intel and Lego Education. The initiative seeks to foster innovation in education for social transformation and sustainable development, with an emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean through an alliance of institutional organisations, cooperation agencies and public and private institutions, gathering the public, corporate, academic and civil society sectors.
Think Blue, the partnership-based edu-tech platform, accelerates access to ocean education through collaborative methods, strategic partnerships and innovative approaches, including virtually.
The platform represents a shift in mindset towards the use of edu-tech products to better prepare current and future generations to steer the planet toward sustainable development.
Project Coordinator for the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), Susanna DeBeauville Scott, represented the OECS Commission at the event and outlined areas of cooperation between the CROP and the new Think Blue platform.
“We have partnered with Virtual Educa on Think Blue. The platform will allow us to share ocean knowledge with our citizens and to allow persons at all different levels to understand the oceans and the impact of human activities. We are looking forward to begin populating this platform under the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project,” Mrs DeBeauville Scott said.
The OECS Commission obtained a US$6.3 million grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) administered by the World Bank in October 2017 to implement the CROP project. The project seeks to support the preservation of coastal and marine resources, and implement regional policies to stimulate blue growth in five Eastern Caribbean countries, namely Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Specifically, the project will:
- Support the implementation of regional policies, including mapping ocean assets, developing coastal and marine spatial plans and national ocean strategies through active citizen engagement;
- Collaborate with private sector technology companies and education platforms to advance ocean education; and
- Improve OECS ocean data coverage and access through collaborative public-private platforms.
Adopting a regional ocean management strategy is critical as the economy of OECS countries is mainly driven by coast-related activities such as the cruise sector, tourism or fisheries that generate income and employment for a major part of the population.
View the launch of Think Blue Live : http://virtualeduca.org/encuentros/bahia2018/