Facilitating a Caribbean CEPA session on biodiversity action plans

Carlette Falloon shares her experience at a Grenada workshop for National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. She ran a 45-minute session on Communication, Education and Public Awareness.

Talking about the critical role of communication, education and public awarness for implementing national biodiversity strategies

Dear CEC family,

I attended the Regional Workshop for the Caribbean on Updating National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) held in St. Georges, Grenada from October 17 to 22, 2011. During the workshop I facilitated the CEPA session, which was entitled: 'Developing and implementing effective CEPA programmes as an integral part of NBSAP'.

The workshop was facilitated by a dynamic team from the CBD Secretariat who kept the participants engaged with several informative presentations and group activities.

Before the session:

I had informal discussions with a few of the participants and realized that they knew very little about the CEPA programme. I therefore modified the beginning of my presentation to provide a brief introduction to CEPA and the CEC. I also did a dry run of the video (Love. Not Loss) and realized that the format was incompatible, which caused the video to keep freezing. Fortunately, the technician converted it to the MP2 format and it worked beautifully. I also had the handouts copied prior to the session and prepared the flipchart papers for the group activities.

During the session:

The session was held on the second to last day, so there was no need to do the introduction of participants. This saved time as I only received 45 minutes to do the session. I started by talking a little about the purpose of the session and CEPA, followed by the showing of the video Love. Not Loss. The technician fed the sound through the PA system and the images were projected on the large screen so the participants had no difficulty getting the intended message. I then explained the next section on the Key Elements of Communication and left the participants to complete the exercise. Based on how engaged they were in their deliberations, I asked the faciliator for an extra fifteen minutes to allow for the presentations from the groups.

After the presentations (time only allowed for five), I gave a few additional suggestions for effective communication, which included:

  • Know the local culture of your audience
  • Use social media, especially when trying to reach a younger audience
  • Include environmental field trips as these are very effective with students and teachers.

After the session:

I collected the email addresses for the participants for further discussion on CEPA. Some of the participants indicated that they will download the toolkit from the website and I gave others electronic copies.

Shortly after my return to Jamaica, I will be co-facilitating an environmental workshop and field trip with a group of inner city children between the ages of 8 to 14. I will increase my efforts to focus on the positive aspects of environmental conservation, using the CEPA toolkit as a guide.

Carlette Falloon
CEC Member - Jamaica

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