Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Saturday 30 May 2009

Protected area issues that can change

Storytelling about positive change they had experienced in the last ten years in their PA area helped to analyze the role of behavior change. And how communication can trigger specific changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices of key audiences. A major lesson learned was that change starts with small steps. With this in mind participants worked in pairs to plan communication for an issue they wanted to change in their area. The issues included joint management of the Guanta (bushmeat); illegal fishing of the Parago (fishermen threatening biodiversity); private landowners encroaching on a Nature reserve (natural resource management); reintroduction of a species; management of forest fires; tourism development; hunting; improving relations with neighbouring communities. In most cases communication had to focus on the first step: bringing stakeholders together for joint planning, identifying leaders, researching what they already know, what they need to know to come to the workshop, what (additional)skills they need etc. In many cases it was hard to resist the attraction to solve the whole issue as experts and push their solutions through various (sometimes even participatory) communication means. During the feedback by colleagues and facilitators we discussed planning the first communication steps towards a co-creation of solutions with the stakeholders as an often more effective and sustainable approach. But in the reality of the Ecuador PAs this is often more theory than practice.

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