CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
Enhancing the Role of Civil Society in Raising Awareness and Building Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change workshop
In October 2007, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and Panos Caribbean (http://www.panoscaribbean.org/) co-facilitated a regional workshop in Saint Lucia entitled “Enhancing the role of civil society in raising awareness and building capacity for adaptation to climate change” with funding from the Commonwealth Foundation (http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/). Twenty-five participants from 11 Commonwealth Caribbean countries took part, including:
- representatives of national and local civil society organisations (CSOs);
- performance artists and drama-in-education-specialists
- print and broadcast journalists.
CANARI and Panos designed the workshop to introduce and test a range of communication tools and methods, particularly those that would resonate with community audiences in the Caribbean. The workshop was therefore highly interactive and included:
- mini-lectures and discussions on climate related issues and the development of communication strategies, facilitated by specialists;
- presentations of case studies of adaptation planning within the region;
- a field trip to the village of Laborie to assess with community members its current vulnerabilities to climate variability
- presentation to the Laborie community of messages about climate change.
The CSO participants worked with drama-in-education specialist, Conroy Wilson, from the Jamaica Ashe Ensemble and Barbadian poet-musician and advocate, Aja, to develop messages in poetry, song and drama. The outputs from this group included:
- a poem/song entitled “I don’t wanna wash away” by Marilyn Lucy Gentles of Jamaica;
- a drama performance with various scenes conveying messages about sea level rise, sea warming, changes in rainfall patterns and stronger hurricanes.
These were presented to the Laborie community at an evening gathering in the Market complex, together with Aja’s poem “Live as One” and a video on coral bleaching entitled “In Hot Water” by the Buccoo Reef Trust (http://www.buccooreef.org/).
During the course of the workshop, the media practitioners also developed a number of outputs including:
- Laborie Times, a news letter for the Laborie community about the climate change issues
- A PowerPoint presentation The Laborie Experience, and a radio “sound portrait” of the Laborie field trip
The media practitioners also filed newspaper articles for publication in their home countries.
The workshop was outstanding in terms of the high level of creativity and the strength of the regional links forged. At the end of the workshop, all participants expressed a greater understanding of the issues facing the region and appreciation of the wide range of potential approaches to raising awareness and stimulating community-level adaptation. The feedback from the community members in Laborie was also excellent. Most importantly, the workshop has stimulated a multiplier effect within the region, with many of the participants applying the techniques learned at the workshop to their national and local contexts. Such activities have included working with young performance artists in Jamaica to develop songs relating to climate change; facilitation of a similar workshop for youth in Barbados; incorporating climate change-related activities into the Sandwatch programme in Bahamas; and broadcasting climate change messages on the radio in Dominica.
Full details of the workshop are provided in the workshop report
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