ProCEEd conducts outreach training on bylaw dissemination in Hin Nam No national protected area

ProCEEd’s team in Khammouane province held a three-day workshop, from December 19-21, 2017, to train officials near the Hin Nam No (HNN) national protected area on bylaw dissemination and educational outreach methods. The training was attended by heads of the HNN national protected area District Co-Management Committee (DCMC), representatives of local institutions such as the Lao Women’s Union and the District Office for Forestry and Agriculture (DAFO), as well as park rangers and village heads from five villages located near the protected area. The workshop aimed to teach participants essential skills in developing non-formal education activities. Twenty-eight participants diligently worked together on the creation of an outreach program to disseminate bylaws of the Hin Nam No area.

The need for the training arose in 2015, when the DCMC developed a bylaw booklet with clear but highly technical rules and regulations about how villages and others can use the national protected area. It became a challenge for HNN’s outreach units to disseminate the information in this booklet to communities, who live in and depend on the national protected area, and make sure they understood its key messages. The GIZ-HNN and ProCEEd teams, which are both projects of the ProFEB program, therefore agreed on a collaboration plan. As part of the plan, ProCEEd offered to design and conduct a tailor-made human capacity building workshop for HNN’s DCMC.

On the first day of the workshop, all participants were warmly welcomed by Mr. Khantalangsy Sainyalad, the District Governor of Boualapha, who is also the head of the DCMC, and who introduced the objectives and the schedule of the workshop. Over the three days, the ProcEEd team introduced the bylaws and the need for outreach, followed by defining some key messages, developing suitable dissemination methods, designing a program schedule and finally wrapping-up and considering next steps.

To start was a short presentation about the HNN bylaws and how they were created, followed by an overview of previous dissemination efforts to villages around the protected area. In another short presentation, the ProCEEd team addressed the question “Why could non-formal education approaches be the right strategy for outreach?” ProCEEd’s strategy for environmental education typically includes a broader spectrum of topics than bylaw outreach, and the target groups in the HNN are more specific compared to the ones ProCEEd normally reaches. But the ProCEEd team showed these same techniques could be used to successfully promote the “do’s and don’ts” in the HNN national protected area.

In the first group work session, participants aimed to formulate technical information on bylaws into clear, easy-to-understand messages, which participants wanted to promote to villagers. Groups worked intensely on three different parts of the bylaw booklet, and each group defined ten key messages they thought were most important to communicate. A short presentation of the results was used for some in-between coaching on how to give an interesting and attractive presentation. Afterwards the audience voted for the ten most important bylaw messages out of the 30 that were presented. Some of highest rated ones were: “Local people are prohibited to invade, clear the land, destroy the forest and forest land in any case inside the national protected area”, and “Do not extract timber and non-timber forest products for commercial purposes without permission.

In the third phase of the workshop, the group’s challenge was to develop non-formal education (NFE) methods to promote key messages in the most attractive and comprehensible way to communities. ProCEEd presented three main categories of non-formal education materials (cognitive, emotional, and practical) and gave some demonstrations for each. In the following session, three groups then developed three different educational methods, one from each category.

After defining key messages and creating education methods, the participants drafted a full outreach program, using the developed elements, scheduling them in a strategic order and thinking about linked responsibilities and organisational tasks. ProCEEd then gave a presentation to share its experience of past program designs and to draw attention to some crucial program guidelines and standards. With this preparation, participants gathered in mixed groups to draft a first sketch of a program outline. After a short presentation, the different ideas were discussed and served as a basis for all groups to jointly create one single program schedule.

With the creation of the final bylaw education and outreach program, the main objective of the three-day creative workshop was fully realised. In a final session, the moderators summarised achieved goals and learned skills. The audience and moderators together discussed some possible next steps, such as any optional refinement of methods or further detail planning for activity implementation. This brainstorm was followed by a short review of participants’ roles and responsibilities for the implementation of this new outreach program, just before the session concluded with a final feedback round.

ProCEEd will follow up on this training by supporting upcoming field trips to villages, where the new activities will be conducted for the first time. The ProCEEd team will serve as coaches and on-the-job trainers for the DCMC outreach unit, to help them develop their new skills in a real-life environment.



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