OAPFD, Oman Sail celebrate success of Zimam programme

MUSCAT: Oman Sail and the Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) celebrated the successful conclusion of the Zimam National Leadership Programme pilot project at an event held at the Ministry of Higher Education.
The ceremony was attended by Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Dhafir al Shanfari, CEO of OAPFD, and David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail.
Since its launch in February 2017, the project has been instrumental in equipping over 900 Omani students from the Al Batinah region with valuable new behavioural and interpersonal skills. Grade eight students from government schools participated in a two-day programme to develop teamwork, communication, motivation, resilience, planning and time management.
At College level, students attended a three-day residential course which focused on leadership and employability skills training to prepare new graduates for the workplace. The programme features a series of experiential learning methods, specifically designed by educational experts and child psychologists to complement the formal academic curriculum.
Dr Dhafir al Shanfari, Chief Executive Officer of OAPFD, said, “The pilot project has been an incredible success with the potential to transform thousands of young lives at key stages of their personal development.
The long-term benefits to Oman’s economy, skills base, creative industries and capability to become competitive in global markets will be driven by initiatives like this and we are supremely proud to be providing an opportunity for young Omanis to learn positive behaviours and change their lives.”
David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail, said, “Using the outdoors as a platform, we have developed a leadership programme which teaches school children and students life skills to enhance their education and employability. Our expertise in training sailors has shown that learning through experience can inspire people in ways a classroom does not. As with our sailing training programmes we are committed to providing equal opportunities for male and female students to open up new mindsets and help the next generation of Omanis reach their goals and achieve their dreams through experiential learning and outdoor education.”
The project itself is unique, offering a comprehensive ‘through-education leadership programme’, complementing the academic curriculum. Feedback from the pilot project has been overwhelmingly positive with schools and colleges reporting increased confidence, more active participation in class, team work and a huge change in students’ enthusiasm, determination and ability to overcome challenges.
With a continued commitment to funding and investment from both public and private sectors, Oman Sail aims to extend the Zimam National Leadership Programme to reach 10,000 children each year.
Courses will focus on developing the soft and hard skills necessary to develop confidence and independence, transform behaviours and unlock the latent potential of Omani youth by using outdoor activities, including sailing, to develop creativity and the competencies required to lead communities, companies and institutions long into the future.