Hard work and high rewards for the dive community
Last week, Wicked Diving was named in the Top Ten Wild Asia’s 2013 Inspiring Stories from Destinations; a prestigious accolade which recognises tourism operators that strive to make a difference through conservation and community projects. Everyone at Wicked was over the moon that the work we are doing in Labuan Bajo has received this great compliment.
Wicked Diving Indonesia runs three core community and conservation projects. The project we were recognised for is a Dive Guide training programme for young men from Komodo island. This project started with Wicked’s sponsorship of the first SSI Instructor course in Labuan Bajo, specifically provided free of charge to local dive guides. Stage two involved mentoring of new divers from Komodo island. Twenty young men were trained to Stress and Rescue diver and then completed month long internships with Wicked. Two of the most promising candidates will embark on their SSI Dive Guide course throughout November and December and then join Wicked Diving on a full time, year long contract when the shop reopens for high season in March.
These young men are being offered an incredible opportunity not only to change their quality of life, but also to learn skills which provide them with an alternative vocation to fishing. Not only that, but it gives the people of Komodo a chance to benefit from the popularity of this area – it’s their natural inheritance, it’s their Komodo.
All of our staff works incredibly hard to ensure the success of this project. This is outside the normal role of a dive guide or instructor. Typically our staff members are already teaching courses, guiding groups of divers or mentoring DMTs. They then take the time to train and mentor these young men and to provide them with the most useful experience that they can. Not to mention the adhoc English lessons and fish ID sessions!
Projects like this don’t come for free. We are lucky to be partnered with Komodo Kita which has funded a large part of the initial training in this programme. In addition, SSI Indonesia has been incredibly generous in d
onating teaching materials to the candidates. Wicked Diving will fund the entire Dive Guide course, including lodging and food for the candidates. This could not be done without you, our guests! 2% of Wicked Diving revenue funds projects like this. Thanks to everyone that has joined us this year; you are helping us to use that 2% to directly change lives.
We’d like to finish by congratulating our friends, Scuba Junkie, who won the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award for the 2nd year running. We admire the work they do in the conservation sphere. Everyone involved deserves this award. We hope that this ongoing recognition of the dive industry will inspire many other dive organisations to do the same. Wild Asia’s awards exist to inspire tourism operators and to show them how they can also use their people, their profits and their passion to change the environment around them for a sustainable future.
-Wicked Diving Komodo