In February 2018, 13 female leaders from Sri Lanka travelled to Australia to participate in a two-week Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Fellowship Program.
The purpose of the program was to increase representation of females involved in community aquatic education, employment and organisational governance, to prevent drownings and improve water safety in Sri Lanka.
The program was made possible thanks to the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Australia Awards scholarship program, which offers the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.
In partnership with Sri Lanka Life Saving, LSV delivered the fellowship program in two streams. Stream one was the technical steam and empowered the participants to develop skills and knowledge in water safety.
Participants in this stream included representatives from the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as community aquatic centres. The fellows undertook internationally recognised training, including lifesaving rescue techniques in big surf conditions, AUSTSWIM teacher of swimming and water safety and training in the Swim for Safety program, as well as other technical skills.
Stream two included representatives from Sri Lankan tourism operators as well as the media, who play an integral part in water safety development. They visited a range of water-related venues, participated in developmental workshops and gained an understanding of how the community, tourism and water safety come together.
LSV President Tom Mollenkopf said the fellowship was an opportunity to ultimately save lives in Sri Lanka.
“We have been working with Sri Lanka for over eight years, and we have made significant progress in developing capacity and capability in lifesaving,” said Mr Mollenkopf.
“Over 1000 people have participated in lifesaving training with LSV as a result of our partnership with Sri Lanka Life Saving.
“Thanks to support from DFAT, it was possible to offer this fellowship for the first time, and we hope the skills that were leant by the female participants will assist in reducing the number of lives lost to drowning in Sri Lanka.”
The Fellowship also offered an opportunity for past LSV Building Leaders Scholars to further extend their involvement in developing lifesaving in Sri Lanka.
Past scholar Ellen Porter said she was excited to be part of the fellowship program as a coordinator.
“I was thrilled to be a part of a project that was associated with Sri Lanka Life Saving, especially after being chosen to be a scholar for the Building Leaders Scholarship last year,” said Ms Porter.
“Although I was not directly involved in the training, my role consisted of managing logistics such as transporting the group of Sri Lanka female lifesavers to and from their daily activities and adapting to unpredictable circumstances.
“The fellowship was a great experience and I hope to continue my involvement should we have this opportunity again in the future.”
For more information about the Australia Awards, visit: http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/australia-awards/pages/australia-awards.aspx
For more information about LSV’s Building Leaders Scholarship, visit: https://lsv.com.au/clubs-members/leadership/leadership-and-development-programs/