Cambodia workshop builds communications capacity of NGOs, government and civil society

From 24 to 25 May 2018, IUCN and Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Cambodia organised a two-day training workshop on communications in Kampot Province.  The aim of the workshop was to improve the capacity of 16 representatives from Cambodian NGOs; civil society, including MFF grantees and IUCN members; and local and national government agencies to write news stories and to develop communications strategies. This was achieved through a combination of participatory lecture-style presentations, group work and a field visit. 

Three men stand around a table while a woman sits and writes on a pad of presentation paper

Following opening remarks from the facilitators and a keynote speech from Sreng Sophal, Deputy Director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Conservation for the Cambodia Ministry of Environment (MoE) and a member of the MFF Cambodia National Coordinating Body, participants learned about the relevance, necessity, and components of communications, and worked in groups to develop basic communications strategies. 

Once their understanding of the importance of communications had been established, they then learned about three different types of news stories and their uses, and learned the specific techniques for writing hard news stories. A brief overview of photography was also provided, including the importance of pairing stories with photographs, and a few techniques for capturing and choosing compelling images.

On the second day of the workshop, participants visited a mangrove rehabilitation site near the ecotourism village of Trapeang Sangke, outside the town of Kampot, and had the opportunity to practice taking photographs and to speak with Sim Him, the head of Trapeang Sangke’s Community Fisheries.

Using the information they had gathered at the field site, as well as the techniques for writing hard news stories learned in class, participants drafted stories in groups.  These stories were then reviewed and workshopped among the groups, giving participants the opportunity to identify where their peers had successfully utilised the story writing techniques, and where they could improve. 

“The participants were really active in the discussions and groupwork,” said Vanny Lou, National Coordinator for MFF Cambodia. “They also seemed very quick to learn the basic structure of a communications strategy and a news story, which were the workshop deliverables.”

“The workshop is a step towards one of MFF’s goals for Phase 3, which is to build the capacity of government and non-governmental stakeholders to document and communicate initiatives that have a positive impact on coastal ecosystems and natural resource-dependent communities,” said Ann Moey, Head of Communications for IUCN Asia. 

The workshop was facilitated by Vanny Lou and Ann Moey, with support from Elaine Mumford, Regional Communications Assistant for IUCN Asia. 

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based regional initiative which pro-motes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in build-ing the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The initiative uses mangroves as a flagship ecosystem, but MFF is inclusive of all types of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands. MFF is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and is funded by Sida, Norad, Danida and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Thailand.

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