Environmental Education Makes Government Authorities Aware of Importance of Forests to Cope with Natural Disasters

Between March and April 2016, DEQP implemented ProC EEd's regular

Environmental Tour for provincial and district government authorities in the Khammouanne, Sayaboury and Houaphan Provinces. This time, the tour focused on how forests can help protect the communities from natural disasters.


ProCEEd's didactical tool box is full of edutainment and interactive games, songs, plays, exercises and other elements that aim at increasing people's awareness and knowledge related to environmental issues.  The approach of learning while playing and participating to empower is based on visualisation, moderation and interaction methods. Educational games and a theatre play were specifically designed for this tour and were implemented to facilitate the learning processes of rural target groups.


ProCEEd staff and volunteers go through a series of capacity building trainings in order to be able to use such participatory methods instead of normative and classroom approaches that are common in Laos. These trainings are a major part of ProCEEd activities as to put interesting and effective environmental education activities into practice. Many of these trainings have been designed and implemented by Manfred Oepen, an adult education and communication expert.


To date, the trained DEQP staff and volunteers master techniques for working with groups and ensuring the active participation of government authorities. DEQP facilitators expressed that the trainings offered by ProCEEd help them to manage difficult situations with different audiences and enable them to implement an interesting and effective tour.


On tour, moderation and visualization skills are used day by day to share technical knowledge with and help provincial and district government authorities understand their role in forest protection. Inputs originate from moderated discussions, working groups and plenary sessions and other methods.  For example, a puzzle game in the form of 18 cubes was developed to help participants gain a better understanding of ten facts related to forest protection and natural disasters. The tour highlight was a specifically developed people's theatre play. The script was created by the DEQP staff and volunteers themselves, and reflects the local reality in the respective provinces. The Lao National Theatre has been supporting ProCEEd's tour staff to enhance their performance skills. Intensive training workshops well before a tour starts include voice and body expression, script adaptation and other theatre techniques shared by the most skilled theatre experts in the country.


The use of didactical elements is an innovative approach for environmental education in Laos in general, and for the public sector in particular. The promising results observed during the most recent tour have again proven that audiences rapidly get involved in thematic discussion and enjoy the entertaining parts. Numerous government officials could be observed enjoying and participating actively in tour activities.  Discussion were lively and productive. ProCEEd received requests and invitations to arrive at the districts and provinces more often.


From ProCEEd's perspective, one of the most important results is to see DEQP staff and volunteers empowered with modern and effective environmental education skills that promote participation, critical thinking, and are entertaining at the same time.




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