One Earth, an initiative by Islanders Education, aims to challenge young minds to think outside the box and come up with practical ideas to live a more sustainable, wholesome and equanimous life in the Maldives.
Last month, One Earth challenged the secondary grade level students of Billabong High International School to reflect on how private companies in the Maldives made decisions in response to the pandemic crisis and come up with ideas that could help them to improve, keeping in mind the rights of all stakeholders – workers, customers and environment whilst remaining profitable.
Industry experts – renowned economist, business manager and former educator Mr.Mohamed Waheed and Ms.Mariyam Visam, the registrar of companies from the Ministry of Economic Development – helped to provide real-world insight into how companies are formed and how they make decisions. They also outlined the limitations of companies and how decisions made solely based on the bottom line may not be beneficial to the company in the long run.
Students spent two weeks studying and learning about private companies and came up with a revolutionary idea to redefine the Memorandum and Articles of Association that expanded on the profit-driven shareholder motives to include the rights of workers, suppliers and other third parties, and the environment. They also outlined a code of ethics for the management to govern its operations in a more sustainable and ethical manner.
“We believe this was an insightful exercise for our students,” said Ismail Shanim, Vice Principal from Billabong High. “At some point in time in the future, it is inevitable that our students will be interacting with or even heading a private limited company that will define their future careers. It is important for them to know what the key issues at play are, in order to create a more fair, equitable and sustainable business that not only benefits the shareholders, but also everyone who is involved within and around a private company.”
“We believe One Earth presented us this challenge at the right moment where we are all at the mercy of market forces while we try to deal with a pandemic. We had many real-life lessons to learn from. Many of our student’s parents and families have experienced financial struggles linked to private companies due to the pandemic, which made this learning experience more meaningful for students.”