CANARI completes WFF project on participatory management training

11/11/2003

News from Wetlands for the Future

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) has closed the file on the 1999 Wetlands for the Future project WFF/99/LCA/1 "Training in participatory and collaborative approaches to wetland management in the insular Caribbean" with a final report dated 2 October 2003. This US$15,485 project used the Mankòtè Mangrove Ramsar site in Saint Lucia as a model for the preparation and testing of training modules, following on from CANARI's earlier WFF project which helped to produce the leaflet "Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods: Collaborative Management of the Mankòtè Mangrove, St. Lucia" in August 1998.

The following summary of the project is extracted from the project final report:

This report covers the second phase of a project that was designed to contribute to the strengthening of participatory and collaborative approaches to wetland conservation and management through the testing and documentation of approaches, methods and tools for collaborative management. Activities in the first phase of the project included the conduct of a seminar on participatory approaches to wetland management and the preparation of a draft of a teaching module for use with senior level university students and for in-service training with natural resource managers. The content was based on the case of the management of Mankòtè mangrove in St. Lucia. Mankòtè has been a focus of study for over two decades and provides an example of participatory processes leading to collaborative management and sustainable use of wood for charcoal production. The purpose of the second phase of the project was to finalise a number of teaching materials for use in training in participatory and collaborative approaches to wetland management in the insular Caribbean. These materials included a teaching module, which was to be the core text of the teaching kit. In addition to the core text, various support materials were produced, including a video and a slide set in PowerPoint format on CD. To enhance its usefulness in the Hispanophone Caribbean most materials were translated into Spanish, including the core text, the video text, as well as a case study on the mangrove that was produced prior to the project but which formed an integral part of the module.

Preparation of the teaching module and audiovisual aids

A draft module was prepared by CANARI staff and circulated for review to a small group of faculty and staff of the University of Puerto Rico, the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of the West Indies with experience in developing pedagogical materials and teaching natural resource management. The module was produced in response to a demand for multi-disciplinary pedagogical materials that use Caribbean case materials to document processes and results and provide practical skills and methods that can be applied to a variety of disciplines, including environmental management, development studies, planning and social science. It is also appropriate for use by facilitators of in-service training programmes for natural resource managers. Following the review, the final version of the module was prepared, entitled A guide to teaching participatory and collaborative approaches to natural resource management.

Following the review of the draft teaching module in the previous phase of the project, a seminar was held in St. Lucia to develop the teaching activities and elicit recommendations on content from a group of professionals including university lecturers, wetland scientists and resource managers. An important outcome of the seminar was the identification of support materials that were produced in this phase of the project.

To complement the module, an 18-minute video was produced entitled Managing together: collaborative and participatory management of in the Mankótè mangrove, St. Lucia. A set of 20 captioned slides was prepared on CD as a Power Point presentation with the same title to accompany the video. Managing together uses the Mankótè experience to introduce some of the basic concepts and principles related to participation and collaboration in natural resource management and presents some of the benefits and challenges of this approach. Together with the slide set it illustrates the area discussed in the module and the companion case study, Conservation and sustainable livelihoods: collaborative management of Mankote mangrove, St. Lucia, which was published by CANARI in 1998.

Distribution of kits for field testing

Copies of the English and Spanish versions of the kit have been provided to selected faculty at the University of the West Indies and the University of Puerto Rico who have agreed to field test it. Sections of the teaching guide were tested in early 2001 at the Cave Hill Campus of UWI. The kit has also been tested by CANARI with second year students in the Forest Management module at the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) in Trinidad. It is anticipated that the guide will be further refined as a result of field testing.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support the Wetlands for the Future Fund (WFF) training initiative for the Western Hemisphere, first begun in 1997. This activity promotes the implementation of the concept of "wise use" of wetlands through the strengthening of the capacity of countries to manage their wetland resources in perpetuity and by contributing to the integration of wetland conservation and management with the development process. All proposed activities must be in line with the principles, recommendations and guidelines of the Ramsar Convention. For more information about the WFF, see http://ramsar.org/caxref:4158.

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