Developing ocean leadership and stewardship in the Caribbean

In answer to the funding call, Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Caribbean and EcoVybz Environmental Creatives executed a one-week virtual capacity building training initiative from March 14th to March 22nd 2022 called “Thinking Beyond the Tides.”

This program aimed to: 

• Present and discuss Caribbean Ocean problems and perspectives. 

• Inspire, innovative ocean-based projects and explore evidence-based solutions. 

• Provide a platform and a safe space for an exchange of local and scientific knowledge between early career ocean professionals and marine experts in the region. 

• Enhance the technical and leadership expertise of early career ocean professionals. 

The program had 43 participants (79% female, 21% male) from all over the Caribbean Seas: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, St.Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos. 

The program was designed by Youth, executed by Youth and saw Youth participants so is a prime example of a truly Youth-led initiative, catering to the needs of regional Youth; which is a very rare occurrence in the Caribbean. There was representation from across the region which aided in the quality of conversations and discussions held during the sessions.  The program also saw a diverse yet accomplished line-up of speakers representing the Caribbean, the youth, industry experts like Fabien Cousteau and global organisations which allowed for a balance mix of information being presented as well as context specific information dissemination for the Caribbean region. 

The program was divided into 7 main sessions, featured 23 speakers in total from across the Caribbean and beyond, with each session 2 hours in length. The topics included Storytelling for Ocean Action, Marine Degradation in the Caribbean, Marine Opportunities, Idea Implementation, Ocean Leadership.

Watch the Opening Session from "Thinking Beyond the Tides"

The programme facilitated the following outcomes:

  • Youth networking and community
  • Capacity Building
  • Cultural and scientific knowledge exchange amongst the participants and speakers. 
  • Knowledge of the region’s pressing ocean issues and solutions
  • Youth opportunities (education, research, internships, and global programs)
  • New skills in leadership, storytelling, and business innovation
  • Shifts in mindset surrounding the role that Caribbean youth can play in taking ocean action

ECOPs in the region were extremely excited to learn and participate in the program because such opportunities are often not present or not designed for them.  There is a strong demand to develop more capacity building programs like this, in order to provide Youth with a baseline understanding of national, regional and international marine related topics and drive concrete evidence-based action.

One major success of this program were the many context-relevant examples and speakers that were present so participants understood exactly what was happening specifically in the region and they could identify specific career paths.  The mix of local and International speakers were greatly appreciated by the participants, as it was an opportunity to learn and understand what was happening in the Caribbean as well as draw from wider case studies, in order to apply to their own careers or initiatives in the future. 

As is such with other programs, it was great to ensure that participants were receiving information relevant to their work and local environment.  Moving beyond the training there is much need to develop on the ground communication strategies, related to regional projects, and help lead the expansion of the ECOP network within the Caribbean. 

The information on this page comes from the Training Report delivered by SOA Caribbean and Eco Vybz.

Thanks go to IOC-UNESCO and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) for their generous funding to support this capacity development training.