Capacity Development on Environmental Education for Province and District Staff in Khammouane

As a follow-up of initial environmental awareness raising activities conducted by PONRE in Khammouane in late May 2016, ProCEEd held

a Introduction into Environmental Education workshop in Thakek, Khammouane on 23-25 August, 2016. Development advisor (DA) Jonas Ewert as a moderator provided nine participants from PONRE Thakhek and three from DONRE Boualapha with a better understanding of what environmental education is all about by means of an overview and examples as well as working group sessions on related outreach activities.

The three-day workshop aimed at developing capacities in several fields important for organizers and facilitators of environmental education activities. Participants acquired knowledge about environmental education, awareness raising methods, planning and organizing as well to monitoring and reporting skills. In addition, specific and relevant topics such as biodiversity, wildlife conservation, climate change and more were on the agenda. All these skills will help the staff of PONRE and DONRE conduct activities in the Hin Nam Nor National Protected Area (HNN NPA). One of the workshop highlights was a presentation by a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) team from Paksan about their awareness raising strategy and activities.


Representatives of PONRE, ProCEEd's counterpart in Khammouane, opened the work shop emphasizing the importance of environmental education and pointing out that the participants will be the ones who communicate fundamental information about why the protection and sustainable use of the natural environment is so crucial.


In an introduction session "What is environmental education?" each participant noted two most important functions of environmental education. This was followed up by a more detailed  explanation of non-formal education (NFE) methods. NFE uses extra-curricular methods and tools beyond the formal school syllabus that are often introduced out-of-class to school children, teenagers and adults. In the ProCEEd case, the wide range of different educational activities are all related to environmental issues. The NFE tools and communication channels comprise theater plays, games, comic books, posters or interactive learning sessions. Day one was concluded with a presentation of ProCEEd's Environmental Tour as an NFE example for future activities and educational events. Several participants who had already joined the tour as observers expressed their experiences of how the implementing teams implemented their environmental NFE activities.


Day 2 looked into different target groups in the Hin Nam No region. Participants learned about different characteristics of two main groups: students and villagers. What do these groups know about the environment? What are suitable methods to reach each group? These questions led to an overview of potential educational activities for the upcoming dry season from November 2016 to May 2017. The plenary was split into two groups who created an activity per target group each. Working group results were present to and discussed in plenary.


In order to start thinking about future radio listening groups and movie sessions with adult villagers, two short documentary films were shown. A group discussion about how such events could be organized as a discussion among villagers brought further ideas on preparation issues and formal requirements to light. The detailed planning of such activities is crucial for the quality of work and the performance of the implementing team. Therefore, two working groups discussed ‘How to create a time table for an environmental education day’ and presented results to the plenary. A short session on monitoring and reporting of field activities provided complementary information.


The workshop's third day was characterized by practical examples of environmental protection projects and awareness raising approaches. WCS experts presented examples from their work in several Lao provinces and their experiences in wildlife conservation, nature protection and awareness raising. WCS first surveys a project area and subsequently develops a suitable management and awareness strategy. DA Jonas Ewert presented an example of his work with WWF Madagascar related to a sustainable resource management project.


Participants engaged in a final working group session about awareness raising posters on wildlife protection. By exploring the messages and the concept of existing posters, participants understood what the main goals of awareness raising posters can be and how they can create these.


Before PONRE closed the event, the moderator summarized the workshop by having its outputs discussed and next steps formulated. Detailed descriptions and scripts for environmental NFE activities will be created and trained by the participants within the next month. On 5-7 September, the teams of PONRE Thakhek and DONRE Boualapha will join a capacity development workshop on moderation and visualization in Vientiane to further improve their skills for implementing environmental education and awareness raising activities




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