Berlin, 30 August 2018

Safeguarding a sustainable future for the next generation in the Riviera Maya

TUI Junior Academy in the Riviera Maya
  • TUI Care Foundation in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance educates the next generation about the importance of sustainability
  • Teacher training programme to build expertise in sustainable tourism and environmental issues
  • Hands-on learning tools shared with nearly 300 community teachers, benefiting over 6,200 students

A new project from the TUI Care Foundation’s Junior Academy Programme aims to help tackle environmental challenges in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula through education. In cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance, the project will deliver a broad range of learning tools into the hands of nearly 300 teachers in the Riviera Maya. As well as equipping educators with engaging and effective teaching materials targeting 13-18 year olds, the project will provide them with training on key environmental issues from climate change and global forests to biodiversity and sustainable tourism.

Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the TUI Care Foundation, explains: “Mexico holds unique wonders which attract people from all over the world. The rich natural and cultural heritage of the Riviera Maya in particular made the region one of the leading destinations worldwide. With Rainforest Alliance we have found a partner who shares our belief in the power of education to provide new opportunities for young people, and our ambition is to instil students with the knowledge, skills and values to become future leaders in their community - leaders who spread the word on the importance of environmental protection and work towards a sustainable development of their destination. Empowering the teachers of today we want to help educate the generation of tomorrow.“

The Riviera Maya is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Nearly 5 million visitors are expected this year. The successful development of tourism creates employment opportunities and is key to the state’s economy which has become one of the fastest growing in the country. To ensure local communities benefit from tourism while preserving their distinctive natural wonders it is crucial to create awareness for sustainable practices. And there is indeed a lot to look after in these ancient lands which hold the most densely forested areas in the country, several UNESCO World Heritage sites and the second biggest barrier reef after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Maria Ghiso, Education Program Manager of the Rainforest Alliance sees the project as a way to strengthen and educate communities: “Through our partnership with TUI Care Foundation we seek to increase environmental education and build awareness about sustainability. We create community-based conservation initiatives, build networks of teacher-leaders and forge best practice sharing between teachers in different disciplines, grade levels, and communities across the region. This will help to strengthen community participation in conservation, which will in turn maintain the beautiful ecosystems that draw so many tourists to this region.”

For the start of the TUI Junior Academy Programme teachers in over 10 schools will now start the training, while The Rainforest Alliance and the TUI Care Foundation will look into further enhancements to the programme by collaborating with public representatives looking into possibilities of scaling up and standardising procedures.

Earlier in 2018 a diagnostic study with relevant stakeholders, local civil society associations, academics, public sector representatives and private actors was conducted. Participants agreed that key players to reach out to in order to affect public opinion and social conduct are teachers at schools. The need to develop an integrated training module across educational institutions was also highlighted. Following this process, TUI Care Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance defined the themes which will frame the teacher training modules.

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