The workshop was held by Elke Tilders and Laurianne Besse of the international organization of Foundations of Success.
The theme of the training was adaptive management – a conservation program management methodology that enables one to effectively guide project implementation processes and make well-informed decisions where project activities may face multiple external challenges.
Adaptive management basics applied by conservation organizations and adjusted accordingly are called Open Standards, which is reflected in the workshop title.
These standards have been actively introduced to practice, and Wetlands International will also apply the methodology in the implementation of the “From Arctic to Africa” project. For more information on adaptive management, see www.fosonline.org.
The theoretical training included a set of presentations on management standards. Practical training was carried out in the regional – the Russian and the Senegalese – groups.
Supported by the headquarters staff, each group developed a conservation strategy for one important site of their region: the Russian team chose Kolguyev Island, while the Senegalese team chose the Djoudj National Park in the Senegal River Delta. The participants were trained to set project goals and objectives, identify threats and stakeholders, and evaluate implementation effectiveness.
At the end of the group practices, they made presentations and exchanged opinions. In the course of the workshop, the participants learned the Miradi program (www.miradi.org). This software facilitates the development, management, and monitoring of large-scale conservation projects.
A one-day communication workshop took place after the closure of the main workshop. Ita Kempkes of Wetlands International made a presentation on communication principles and goals, information exchange tools, and basics of effective communication strategies. Thereafter, the participants tried to identify priorities of a communication project – forms and channels to disseminate information to stakeholders and optimal organization of communication between the regional groups of the project. It was not always easy to find solutions, and therefore the participants decided to develop communication tools in the course of the project implementation.
All the participants highly appreciated the workshop results. First and foremost, knowledge and skills obtained will help to develop, by early 2014, conservation strategies for migratory birds in the model regions, which is a prerequisite of successful implementation of the “From Arctic to Africa” project. It is also important that the workshop provided an opportunity to discuss and plan project activities in more detail, forged partnership relations between the regional groups, and, thus, gave crucial momentum to the project development.
by Alexander Solokha
Photo credits: Taej Mundkur