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Date: October 13, 2000

UVic-Led Projects assist Argentina and Thailand

UVic-led projects to assist communities in Thailand and Argentina have been awarded $1.5 million in funding by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Environment Minister David Anderson, MP for Victoria, today announced $750,000 for a human development project in Thailand focused on coastal aquaculture planning and $760,000 to develop and launch an alternative basic education program for at-risk children in Rosario, Argentina.

Geography professor Dr. Mark Flaherty will work in partnership with Thailand's Burapha University to develop a new certificate program in aquaculture management and to upgrade the research skills of faculty and staff. "We'll assist the university in graduating people who can make informed decisions about site evaluation and plans for coastal aquaculture operations," says Flaherty, who has been travelling to Southeast Asia for 12 years as part of his on-going research. Current aquaculture activity frequently degrades and depletes coastal natural resources, creating hardship for the rural poor who depend on these resources for their livelihoods.

Dr. Thomas Fleming will work with several partners on a program to encourage at-risk youngsters in Rosario, Argentina to give school a second chance. When layoffs occur in the city, pressure mounts on families to pull their children out of school and send them out to find jobs. Fleming will work with the education ministry of Santa Fe (the state where Rosario is located), the University of Rosario, and Argentina's national ministry of education on a program to bring children back to the classroom.

"We'll offer classes at times convenient for these kids to attend. We want to give them a feeling of success so they'll come back," says Fleming, a faculty member in UVic's department of curriculum and instruction, who's been interested in international development work since his first CIDA project in China over 15 years ago. B.C.'s ministry of education is lending technical support so that the project's reporting systems will deliver accurate information to the partners.

Media contacts:
Dr. Mark Flaherty (geography) at (250) 721-7337

Dr. Thomas Fleming (curriculum and instruction) at (250) 721-7828.

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