Seychelles has joined Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Rodrigues in forming the Indian Ocean society platform.
In order to familiarise the media with this new platform a press conference was organised yesterday at the civil society head office in Victoria.
The conference was headed by the chief executive of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps), Michel Pierre, and vice-chairperson Marie-Nella Azemia.
The goal of the Indian Ocean Civil Society Platform (IOCSP) is to facilitate sustainable, meaningful and effective civil society engagements within the Indian Ocean region.
“The works for the platform started five years ago in 2014 when Lungos (the precursor of Ceps) took the initiative after participating in a workshop with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and saw the importance of having a platform in the Indian Ocean for civil societies in the region to join forces and work together,” said Mrs Azemia.
She added that in the past many civil society organisations were working in isolation and there was a missing link.
She noted that to address this problem, a meeting was organised between other platforms in the Indian Ocean to make sure that everybody is on board with this concept.
The platform was launched earlier this month in Mauritius and Mrs Azemia noted that this is because the Mauritius Council of Social Services (Macoss) already has its own learning centre where the platform will be based.
“The platform will be able to promote the role of the key civil society actors in regional integration, its various associations, networks and strategic alliances. Through these networks, information will be exchanged and the individual members will be able to review their current structure in line with the proposed platform,” she noted.
The vice-chairperson remarked that the platform will serve as one voice where all countries will benefit in terms of funding for projects and training.
The IOCSP executive committee will comprise Macoss as chairperson, Reunion (Association Laique pour l’emploi, la formation, la prevention et l’autonomie) vice-chairperson, Ceps as secretary, the Rodrigues council of social services as treasurer and with Madagascar’s platform Nationale des organisations de la societe civile serving as an ordinary member.
Mr Pierre, who will also serve as the secretary general of IOCSP, added that Seychelles will work closely with other platforms in the region and mobilise resources to tackle common issues such as poverty, substance abuse and education.
“We will be working with Rodrigues and Madagascar to build their platforms and bring it to the same level as that of Seychelles and Mauritius,” said Mr Pierre.
He added the goal for the first year is to have a well-established platform in order for partners and funders to be able to start working with them.