GIZ SPACES EEC News #4, Trainings on Environmental Education & Communication

3 May, 2022

In a 2021 environmental awareness survey commis­sioned by GIZ SPACES among 1,316 domestic pro­tected area (PA) visitors, less than 40% knew about the reasons for maintaining and managing PAs. Even less (28%) were aware of a guideline on what to do and not to do when visiting a PA. Selected PA staff responsible for environmental education centers achieved an overall environmental knowledge score of just 34%, with zero grasp on research methods, mushrooms, ecosystem services and local environmental problems.

Two SPACES training workshops on environ­mental education and communication (EEC) in April 2022 strived to counterbalance these trends. For 3 days, more than 50 participants from PAs, NGOs, govern­ment, research and donor organizations discussed and explored creative ways of promo­ting and practicing EEC in Mongolia. They enjoyed the interactive and participatory nature of the modera­tion and visualiza­tion methods (MOVE) employed throughout the workshop, which allowed for factual plenary inputs on EEC issues as well as edu-taining games, exercises and practice-oriented working group sessions. As a result of the workshop, participants reached a common under­­standing of EEC formats, training needs and tools, and achieved a thorough grasp of the purpose, structure and contents of an EEC ToolBox and a MOVE Manual developed by GIZ SPACES. The ToolBox is full of EEC games, exercises, and other materials that rangers, green schools, eco-clubs or NGOs may use for trainings and events. In addition, the Mongolian Eco­logical Center, WWF, Nomadic Nature Conserva­tion, and the National University’s Environ­mental Educa­tion Center presented EEC best practices such as youth-oriented outdoor project weeks and nature & adventure trails.

As a result of this workshop, participants estab­lished a Facebook Group “My Green Mongolia” and a working group comprising Freshwater Center, Ecological Po­lice, UNDP ENSURE, GIZ SPACES, ZSL, WWF, TNC, NNC, and the Hustai and Khomintal PAs discussed the con­cept of a National Environmental Campaign to reach out to all levels of public in an effective and efficient way. The concept’s major principles are cooperation, exchange, and joined forces by all major players in EEC because this will safeguard leverage, outreach and cost-effectiveness. The participating organizations made commitments to contribute to the campaign.

Another workshop for more than 30 PA commu­ni­ca­tions officers identified best-practice exam­ples of communication activities in PAs and devel­oped draft com­munication plans for three “virtual” pro­tected areas in the “Northern”, “Gobi” and “Western Step­pe” areas based on a 10-step approach re­commended by OECD-DAC. This peer-to-peer exchange famili­arized participants with the draft Natio­nal Environmental Education and Com­munication Strategy (NEEC) and encouraged them to devel­op their own local communication strategies.

Feel free to download all the related media and materials that can be used for environ­mental education purposes of and distributed through social media channels by any party interested in EEC in Mongolia.