Manual on Environmental Education and Communication in Laos
ProCEEd has published four volumes of a manual on "Environmental Education and Communication in Laos" which have been translated into Lao language. The manual incorporates results and experiences related to the environmental tours, environmental education and communication activities and related human capacity development efforts accomplished by the project between 2011 and 2017. The four volumes are the backbone of what organizations committed to EEAL have developed with GIZ throughout these years.
To them, environmental education and communication (EEC) means the planned and strategic use of learning and communication processes to support policy making, public participation and the implementation of activities geared towards sustainable development. This involves two-way social interaction that enables people to understand key environmental factors and their interdependencies, and to respond to environmental challenges in a competent way. EEC does not aim at information dissemination alone but at a shared vision of a sustainable future and community-based action and skills learning to solve or prevent environmental problems.
This approach is based on several interrelated elements:learning by doing in an interactive, practice-oriented way,
communicating through a combination of information and entertainment,
visualizing information because "a picture is worth a thousand words",
learning and communicating based on real problems as perceived by the people concerned,
formulating messages and learning aids in a way that are attractive to the learners and communities who are to gain knowledge or change attitudes and practices.
Why this manual?
The three volumes of this manual will enable the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to continue managing and implementing environmental education and communication activities, and to provide related training and coaching. In a joint effort since 2013, MoNRE and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have gained vast experience and developed standard operational procedures for environmental tours, using a bus and a truck outfitted for educational purposes. In the context of ProCEEd, the two organizations have also organized numerous environmental education and communication activities with civil society organizations (CSOs) and journalists in print and broadcasting media. This documentation of experiences and recommendations will safeguard these results and the impacts achieved.
The recommendations, methods and tools presented in this manual will also serve as orientation for MoNRE partners, such as the Participatory Development and Training Center (PADETC/Mind Media), the Mobile Conservation Unit (MCU, now NREP) of the National University of Laos (NUoL), and other government, mass or civil society organizations in Laos that are engaged in environmental education. These and other organizations in the EEA netowrk today can use the proven methods and tools to create and implement their own environmental education activities.
Some of the methods and tools in this manual are very specific to Laos and the MoNRE project context in which they were used, e.g., the environmental bus tours as one possible format for environmental education. Other methods and tools are rather general and can be used for different types of environmental education, such as in-class trainings, World Environment Days, information evenings or other learning events, which organizations in Laos and other countries may want to conduct.
Who is this manual for?
A variety of people will find useful information in this manual: managers, trainers, facilitators, field workers, and journalists. Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 have been developed primarily with MoNRE and its partners – PADETC/Mind Media and MCU – in mind, which have operated environmental bus tours together with MoNRE and GIZ. However, all volumes are structured and written in a way that makes their content relevant and useful for all organizations interested in non-formal environmental education, whether in Laos or in other countries.
What does this manual contain and how is it structured?
This manual is structured like an onion. The outer layer relates to management, i.e., the conceptual and preparation processes that organizations need to go through when planning and implementing environmental education. The middle layer is about the skills and competencies that an organization's staff needs to develop to be able to facilitate environmental education activities. And finally, the inner layer contains the actual methods and tools that staff members should apply to the problems and needs of the participants they work with, be it in environmental education classroom events or with communities in the field.
What all volumes have in common is their foundation in education for sustainable development, their pillars regarding non-formal environmental education and environmental journalism through mass media, and their overall orientation to the 10 key FACTs for five environmental topics, as well as the 10 steps of an integrated Environmental Education and Communication Strategy (EECS).
How can this manual be used?
On the one hand, this manual provides a process-oriented case study from Laos on a variety of environmental education activities that have been organized and implemented over a longer period of time.
On the other hand, it can be used as a collection of inter-related environmental education and communication methods and tools, which interested parties can combine and integrate into a new case of taking people on a learning journey to protect the environment.
The different volumes of the manual may well be taken up by different user groups. For example, managers may only read Vol. 1 and 2 because they are more interested in the management and human resources development aspects. Facilitators, field workers or volunteers may only read Vol. 3 because they are looking for guidance and new tools to use in their work.