The DFF celebrates the fifth anniversary of the ‘First Descent: Seychelles

April 15, 2024

On April 12th 2024, the Danny Faure Foundation (DFF) celebrated the fifth anniversary of the ‘The First Descent: Seychelles’, the first deep ocean scientific research expedition that was carried out in the Seychelles’ waters by the Nekton Foundation in collaboration with the Government of Seychelles, the University of Oxford and other international and local partners. The event celebrated the efforts of all stakeholders involved in the historic expedition.

Speaking at the ceremony was Mr Oliver Steeds OBE, Chief Executive and Founder of the Nekton Foundation, who joined virtually from overseas. Ms Sheena Talma, Seychellois Marine Biologist and Science Program Manager at Nekton, and Ms Stephanie Marie, the first woman Seychellois scientist to go down in the submersible, also shared inspiring accounts of their experience during the scientific research with Nekton.

A total of 60 individuals, across 14 nations, participated in the First Descent. Also involved in the mission where 6 Seychellois who received research grants for their projects by the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).

The DFF commemorated the anniversary through two competitions namely, the Ocean Innovation Award and the Post Secondary School Essay Writing Competition, launched in June 2023 in the sidelines of its first Ocean Fair. The winners of the competitions received their awards at the ceremony.

The Ocean Innovation Award was created to further prompt a wave of ocean innovation. The award sought to encourage our emerging ocean leaders to design innovative solutions to tackle ocean challenges that Seychelles face. In the spirit of collaboration for a prosperous and healthy blue planet, the Nekton Foundation partnered with the DFF for the competition and is offering the winner of the Award, Ms Vicky Durand, with a 5-day learning visit at the Nekton headquarters in the United Kingdom where she will work with Nekton’s personnel and its own partners with specialist skills to further advance her project. Ms Durand was presented with a trophy in recognition of her work by the DFF Founder and Chairman, Former President Danny Faure. Ms Durand’s airplane tickets are being sponsored by H Savy Insurance Company (HSI) and her per diem by Galaxy Trading. Mrs Marie Paule Samson, Manager of the Corporate Affairs & Compliance Department of HIS, and Mr Emmanuel Vidot, Managing Director of Galaxy Trading, presented their prizes to Ms Durand.

The Post Secondary School Essay Writing Competition was launched under the theme ‘The Beating Blue Heart’. The competition sought to tap into the powerful and critical minds of the youths of Seychelles, encouraging them to advocate for a sustainable blue planet. The first winner of the competition, Ms Ziraili Pereira, has been awarded with a 5-day educational stay with the Island Conservation Society on the island of Desroches.

Ziraili’s trip is fully sponsored by the Islands Development Company (IDC). Ziraili received her prize from Mr Glenny Savy, the Chief Executive Officer of the IDC and Mr. Norman Weber, Chief Executive Officer of the ICS. The second and third runners up of the competition, Ms Annie Yang and Ms Tabo Masilokwa, received cash prizes from the DFF. It is close to Desroches that the DFF Founder and Chairman, Former President Danny Faure, made the first underwater live presidential address in a submersible at 124 metres below the ocean surface during the Nekton Mission. On behalf of country, Former President Faure made a global plea for more action to protect the ocean.