The Darwin Initiative Blog

Insights and personal musings from the world of biodiversity conservation and development. For more info on the Darwin Initiative see https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/the-darwin-initiative

Youth in Conservation – Youth Engagement

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In the first blog of this “Youth in Conservation” themed series, we looked at some examples of Darwin projects providing youth education through activities, board games, and local events. In this blog we take a look at a different form of youth engagement – the use of interactive video. Two Darwin projects, one in the Cayman Islands and another in Guyana, are using interactive video to engage local youth on conservation matters, raising awareness and improving overall conservation knowledge in the region. In the Cayman Islands, marine biologists and other experts are answering questions underwater through the innovative “Reefs Go Live”. In Guyana the local indigenous youth groups are using participatory video to capture and preserve traditional conservation practices.

The underwater world comes to classrooms via live video lessons

For children from the Cayman Islands, marine debris, overfishing, and the disruption of the balance of life on coral reefs is not a distant threat a world away. Rather, it has a real and lasting impact on them, their families, and their future.

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) hosts a variety of short and long-term residential courses for elementary, high school and university students throughout the year. However, not all children are able to visit the Little Cayman Research Centre. Financial, physical, and time constraints can make it an impossible task. In response to this, the CCMI team had to think creatively about how to make the underwater world accessible to children wherever they are. This gave rise to Reefs Go Live, CCMI’s innovative approach to engagement, broadcasting interactive lessons live from underwater on the reefs.

Cayman DPLUS061 RGL Broadcast Snapshot, Credit - CCMI

A snapshot of the Reefs Go Live broadcast, Credit – CCMI

Following nearly a year of planning, preparation, testing, development of lesson plans and teacher training, Reefs Go Live was officially launched as part of CCMI’s International Year of the Reef. School children in the Cayman Islands were the primary target of this initial Reefs Go Live rollout. Targeted lessons during the piloting stage were also delivered directly to classrooms in Peru and the United States. As the series developed, the Reefs Go Live videos were broadcast on social media, broadening the audience to include viewers around the globe. The pilot lessons achieved an estimated 16,000 views, and the total reach of the videos was nearly 70,000.

By engaging with scientists and having their questions answered by researchers on the coral reefs, students are learning about coral reefs in an active way, no matter where they are in the world. The underwater world is drawn closer and made more understandable; as a result, students are able to understand how threats to coral reefs affect us all.

Participatory video empowering Indigenous youth

This project in Guyana seeks to facilitate communication between communities and decision-makers by dialogue through participatory video. Participatory video is a great way of exploring and capturing the views and opinions of the local people on issues that are important to them. It allows for several voices and opinions to be heard and recommendations to be recorded and subsequently shared with relevant stakeholders and partners. This project focuses particularly on Indigenous communities located in and around Protected Areas and seeing how traditional knowledge could better inform the management of these areas.

The Makushi people of the North Rupununi are no strangers to supporting local conservation efforts. In fact, a total of 21 villages are affiliated with the management of the Iwokrama Rainforest. The rights of Indigenous communities to access resources in these rainforests and rivers continue to be respected.

Guyana 24-026 Young Indigenous woman are also having their voices heard, Credit - Claudia Nuzzo

Young Indigenous women are also having their voices heard through the participatory videos, Credit – Claudia Nuzzo

Through the Environmental Protection Agency’s on-going Darwin Initiative project, many young Indigenous men and women have had the opportunity to be trained in participatory video skills to improve engagement and pass on traditional knowledge. The project uses a methodology whereby video dialogue allows local Indigenous communities, through the youth, to voice their opinions, concerns and recommendations to decision-makers for improved management of the Iwokrama Rainforest. Young people in the community are provided with the knowledge and skills to develop storyboards, conduct interviews and, most importantly, use video equipment including smart tablets with tripods. They are also gaining valuable experience in taking responsibility among their peers, working together as a team and building good leadership qualities. Through their work on the project they have the opportunity to actively engage with elders and other community members, facilitating intergenerational interaction.

For more information on CCMI’s project DPLUS061 please click here and for more information on the Environment Protection Agency’s Guyana project 24-026 please click here, or read the full articles in our August 2018 Newsletter.

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Author: darwininitiativeuk

The Darwin Initiative is a UK government grants scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide.

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