Over a hundred students graduated from the University of Seychelles on Thursday. Amongst the cohort is Dainise Quatre, the first Seychellois woman to be certified under the Western Indian Ocean Certification of Marine Protected Area (MPA) Professionals for marine field operators, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences.
Quatre is 29 years old and the third Seychellois and first woman to achieve the MPA certification. The two other Seychellois are the current chief executive of the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA), Allen Cedras, and former employee Ronny Renaud.
SNA presents an in-depth chat with the young woman, who shares her life journey and her vision to further her studies in this field as well as her work at the SPGA.
SNA: What are the different positions you have occupied at the SPGA?
DQ: In 2015, I started as a Terrestrial Park Ranger and in 2016, I was transferred to the marine section as a Marine Park Ranger. In 2021, I was promoted as the St Anne Marine National Park Officer and also in 2022, I was assigned the responsibility as the UNDP-GEF Ridge to Reef project coordinator.
Prior to 2015, I worked with the Seychelles Island Foundation in 2013 as a conservation ranger for the Vallee De Mai UNESCO site. The following year, in 2014, I was posted to Aldabra Island.
SNA: What were the constraints or challenges you faced along the way?
DQ: My biggest challenges were when I first joined the marine field team. Since this job was dominated by men, many of the men on the team tended to underestimate or undermine my ability to deliver my duties. However, I proved them wrong and today I am the first and only woman to hold a position at senior level in the marine operation.
SNA: How did it feel to work in a male-dominated field for the past 7 years?
DQ: Working in an environment dominated by men was a bit hectic because they sometimes tended to lack understanding of a female colleague, but I found myself blending in with the group over the years. I felt more comfortable working among them. And surprisingly I enjoyed working with male colleagues because it shows that as a woman, I also can have the same potential and skills as men.
Quatre said she wants to see more women join this career path. (Dainise Quatre) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
SNA: What is your message for other girls and women as an encouragement to take a career in this sector?
DQ: I really want to see more women join this career path, despite it being dominated by men. It does not mean that we women do not have the ability to be successful in this field of work. I believe that women here are very independent, forthright and inherent fighters.
SNA: Tell us about your new MPA qualification.
DQ: This first-in-the-world certification programme for MPA professionals has been developed by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and the Coastal Resources Centre at the University of Rhode Island (CRC/URI) in partnership with regional organisations and national governments.
After my application was accepted, I was put through the evaluation stage for certified marine protected areas professionals. I attended a four-day certification evaluation workshop in Kenya. The certification programme took place from April 22 to 25 this year. A total of 18 applicants sat for the various assessments, with 12 of them receiving their certification for level one. I was evaluated based on the 7 core competencies and successfully obtained the level 1 certificate for marine field operators. This certification programme is structured around the four “E” components of Experience, Examination, Education, and Ethics. Consequently, I am grateful for all of my past work experience from 2013 until today that has enabled me to reach this milestone. I developed my skills in different areas over time, which is why I am successful and certified. With all the experience and knowledge I have gained over the past 9 years, I have developed skills in the seven core competencies of MPA professionals.
In 2022, Quatre was assigned the responsibility as the UNDP-GEF Ridge to Reef project coordinator. (Dainise Quatre) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
SNA: How do you see your future as the only Seychellois woman with this qualification in marine conservation in Seychelles?
DQ: I want to see myself as an ambassador for the women of Seychelles in the field of marine protected area management and the protection of the environment. I want to be an inspiration to young people and a role model for my daughter, Mia. I also anticipate pursuing a master’s degree in natural resources management.
I am very proud to have received this certification and to be the first woman to achieve it. It is very special for me and I hope that it can encourage other women to take up a career in the environment and protection of the marine park.
Source: Seychelles News Agency