This month, the Wildlife Wood Project spent almost two weeks in the field working closely with certain communities. Our partner NGO, Association de Terre et Vie (ASTEVI), has been working with the ZSL since 2009 on general outreach and communications. This year, with the development of a community surveillance network that will implicate communities in wildlife protection during their routine activities in the forest, ASTEVI has very specific goals of helping us pass a clear message about how community members can denounce illegal and unsustainable poaching activities. While the surveillance network is still in the early phases of development, ASTEVI visited the implicated communities to remind community members about wildlife laws, their access rights to the forest, and the importance of defending the forest against illegal users. Below are some pictures from the outreach events where PowerPoint presentations, music, and storytelling were used to get the messages across.
In some communities, participation was so high there weren't enough chairs! People piled into the community halls to learn about the importance of participating in the community surveillance network to protect their physical security in the forest against poachers who are well-armed, as well as to protect their nutritional well-being considering their dependence on wildlife for daily sustenance.
These "roadshows" have been very popular in communities. Most nights, the village is dark, but the roadshow comes with entertainment for people of all ages.
Backstage, there are sometimes unforeseen problems that complicate the work on the ground. This last time there was a problem with the generator, and ASTEVI had to rent generators in various participating villages. Fortunately, generators are easily found in almost every village because of the relative frequence of family events such as weddings and funerals.
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