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Conservation International (CI) Samoa was honored to host a visit by Japan’s Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation (KCNC) 18-member delegation in October during implementation of the Guardians campaign at Aiga Ile Tai district. The visit objective was to experience first-hand the progress of the Guardians campaign and how Samoans live in harmony with nature. The delegation was able to witness the success of the campaign in the form of; active participation and enthusiastic expressions of the Samoan children who participated in the campaign and feel the family atmosphere that the campaign created amongst CI Samoa and its partners.
You can learn more of their visit on:
3 month’s activities
On the 1st-5th of October, CI Samoa and its partners implemented the Guardians campaign at its second target site of the project, the district of Aiga I le Tai, located southwest of Upolu island. Five primary schools participated in the campaign with a total of over 120 students from 8yrs to 12yr old from Mulifanua, Apolima-uta, Manon outa, Salua and Faleu villages. More details of Aiga I le Tai campaign on http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/08_10_2018/local/37433/Guardians-make-an-impact-at-Aiga-I-Le-Tai.htm
Aiga I Le Tai
In promoting the Guardians campaign further, CI Samoa was able to set up an information booth at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) Show on the 25th October. The booth also featured other work that CI Samoa is doing such as collaboration with Samoan Government in Rapid Biological Assessment as well as CI in the region and internally. This proved to be a good opportunity as it enhances the collaboration with MAF as well as promoting conservation efforts into the agriculture and fishing industry.
With the Guardians campaign making a great impact on the national stage, after reaching 13 village sites in two main district areas, CI Samoa was invited to showcase and conduct some of the Guardians Environmental Education modules and teaching methods to other existing activities and projects being implemented by CI partners in Samoa.
On the 27th October, CI Samoa together with Samoa Voyaging Society, spent a full day taking education professionals that were participants of a Regional United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO – Pacific Office) workshop through the Samoan Voyager – Environmental Education module of the Guardians campaign. This was requested by UNESCO given the high interest in Guardian campaign voyaging module that links to UNESCO’s Interactive Education Resource “The Canoe Is the People” which was one objective of the workshop. Participants were from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, Cook Islands, New Zealand and of course Samoa. Participants showed much appreciation and interest in utilizing Samoa’s Guardians Environmental Education modules back in their home countries. This activity strengthened partnership and collaboration with UNESCO and has led to some areas of potential funding support for community-based education earmarked for 2019. Check out details of this fun day on here.
UNESCO Experiencing the Samoan Voyager module
Another partnership strengthened was with Samoa Conservation Society (SCS) where CI Samoa assisted the implementation of SCS’s week long “Environmental Champions Training Course” on the 29th October to 1st November. The training aimed at increasing environmental awareness and literacy in youth adults. CI Samoa, together with assistance from the SVS members, delivered a presentation on the Guardians campaign and demonstrated certain environmental education module components with the participants which was in line with the SCS training objective. You can read more of this great collaboration on http://www.samoa.conservation.org/single-post/2018/11/28/Grooming-new-environmental-champions .
On the 21st November, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) called on CI Samoa for their assistance in their tree planting event with Peace Chapel Christian Primary School. CI Samoa, together with SCS, delivered the Tree Guardian - Environmental Education module (Guardians campaign) for fun educational event. The assistance contributed to the awareness of Samoa’s national initiative of “Two Million Trees Campaign” which is led by MNRE. The event concluded with the Primary students, MNRE, and CI Samoa representatives, planting 900 native trees.
Later in the same month, the Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) vessel (high tech solar powered catamaran) docked in Apia and CI Samoa had the opportunity to exchange ideas on the Guardians campaign, particularly with regards to the Trash Star – Environmental Education module (Guardians campaign). R4WO is an organization dedicated to the preservation of water and it uses its high-tech vessel to travel around the world as an awareness platform for plastic pollution threats and sharing innovative ways to minimize waste and harness green energy. Read more of this one of a kind exchange on http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/26_11_2018/local/38837/Race-for-Water-Odyssey-docks-in-Apia.htm
Race for Water experience the Samoan Voyager module
Other activities include numerous discussions with Samoa’s Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC), that took place during November and December, due to MESC’s interest in imbedding the environmental education module lessons and teaching techniques within Samoa’s official national curriculum for both secondary and primary schools. This was a milestone for the campaign as it not only succeeded at the community level, but also at the national level with the government leaders taking great interest and admiration towards teaching the children of Samoa environmental lessons the “Guardian” way. Read more on this milestone on http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/10_12_2018/local/39268/Guardian-Campaign-lessons-to-be-imbedded-within-school-curriculum.htm
To wrap up on related activities for this project, CI Samoa was partner in an exchange program with Samoa Voyaging Society (SVS) and The Uto ni Yalo (UNYT) – Fiji Voyaging Society. This was supported by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), with UNEP funding. CI Samoa’s Schannel led the SVS 7-member delegation to Fiji to present on highlights/methods of the Guardians campaign and SVS areas of work, trainings where the SVS crew presented the education modules, and learn more of UNYT areas of work. This was followed by three members of UNYT coming to Samoa for a week-long exchange which featured more Guardians campaign knowledge being shared as well as learn more about conservation initiatives in Samoa.
During the same week, CI Samoa hosted a partnership sharing day with the objective to briefly outline the work of partners to SVS and UNYT members and go more into detail of Guardians campaign and curriculum. Partners that presented included MNRE, Youth Climate Action Network (YCAN), SPREP (Waste Advisor), SCS and UNEP (Head of UNEP Pacific Office). The exchange was a great success as all partners got to share and learn from each other’s successes, challenges and innovative ideas, and further strengthen current projects.
Guardians campaign has grown and expanded greatly from its initial concept. This is mainly due to increasing our partnership base as to get wider buy-in and support from all stakeholders in Samoa. More partners and stakeholders do come with a significant increase in time and logistics for coordination and can cause delays and slow down some processes and implementation. But in the long run this is a more sustainable approach to the program. We continue to update and review components of the campaign for a smoother and more efficient implementation process. However, given all the above, the increase in scope and partners brought in, does impact greatly on the current limited staff in the CI Samoa office and over stretch the available funding for this project – as well accounting for unforeseen expenses. On this note, it’s great that the funding on this project is flexible between budget lines to account for changes that happen, and this has assisted in operations greatly.
Some challenges faced in the first campaign site, such as logistics, helped strengthen the implementation-flow for Aiga I le Tai. Aiga I Le Tai campaign was conducted during the school holiday period. This was purposely done to compare the logistics, operations, and attendance of the surrounding communities and children against implementation in the Aleipata district that was conducted during school period in July. We found inconsistency in the number of children attendance and age groups at Aiga I Le Tai campaign because during this period, many children are required elsewhere and young children that were free attended voluntarily. This posed complications towards planning. Logistics wise, it was noted that having the campaign site as the camp site for the whole campaign team makes logistics more efficient.
Moving forward, implementation of campaign in future districts will be conducted during normal school period. This captures the target audience, target teachers, and allows for easier planning and implementation. The school holiday can be used for target specific training for MESC teachers that do not have to be at school.
Next 3 month’s activities
The next upcoming months, CI Samoa will be:
• Compiling and analysis of its Guardians campaign feedback survey (paper based) that was conducted during the Aiga Ile Tai district campaign.
• Compile an Information Package for the Guardians Campaign
• Complete required KNCF financial and technical reports for 2018
• Plan and coordinate Guardians campaign plan for 2019
• Seek additional funding support for Guardians campaign
• Seek additional partners for the campaign from the private sector