Conservation body launches training publication

The Samoa Conservation Society (S.C.S.) has unveiled two training kit publications which it hopes will raise awareness on the environmental threats facing Samoa and how to manage them.

The two publications were launched at the Manumea Hotel on Tuesday as part of the non-government organisation’s Green Livelihoods Project, which is funded by the Civil Society Support Programme.

The Green Livelihoods Project kicked off in October last year and will end this month.

S.C.S. Vice President James Atherton, in his keynote address at the two publications’ unveiling, said the project is a partnership to alert the public to looming environmental threats as well as provide alternative sustainable options to youth.

"Today we launch two key documents under our Samoa Green Livelihoods Project or G.L. Project for short, which is funded by the Civil Society Support Programme, and started in October 2019 and ends this month,” he said. 

“The G.L. is a partnership between S.C.S and many partners to raise awareness of the range of threats facing Samoa’s environment and how to manage them and secondly to promote and demonstrate green livelihood options to village youth.”

According to Mr. Atherton, the manual and community training kit publications that were launched are based on the experiences of conducting three community workshops as well as a train-the-trainer workshop.

The project has already overseen the training of 16 youth to deliver the course with more than 50 village representatives attending the course. Seven jobs were also created through new partnerships.

The two publications have a youth-focus, added Mr. Atherton and the decision by the S.C.S. and its partners to go down that path was also due to belief that young people are more receptive to new ideas.

"Here in Samoa, there are few educational resources available that are specifically designed for Samoan village youth to raise awareness, on the whole range of environmental issues and threats facing Samoa today and to promote connections with the many partners who can provide further support for green livelihoods,” he further reiterated. 

“We focus on youth because they are the future, and are often more receptive to new ideas than older people and because they are often marginalized in our society.”

Mr. Atherton said Samoa is also part of a “silent revolution” globally to revive traditional ways of living, and to adopt and adapt appropriate modern technologies that are lower impact and more sustainable than “business as usual” approaches. 

"One of the exciting developments in Samoa in recent years has been the explosion of organisations and informal groups that now support Samoans to build green livelihoods, such as in organic farming, nature-based tourism, renewable energy production, in recycling and improved waste management or in low impact handicraft production. 

“Think about METI, WIBDI, SWAG, SRWMA, PDT and so on! We will need a glossary of acronyms soon as there were so many of them! We just need to connect better amongst ourselves.

"Perhaps never before have these green livelihoods been more important. If we think of the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 or of the recent floods that give us an unwelcome foretaste of our future climate, any efforts that promote knowledge, self-reliance, resilience and the skills to heal our degraded natural resources are to be promoted, and that is really what the green livelihoods concept is all about."

Mr Atherton said he hopes that the training kit and trainer’s guide that they launched on Tuesday will be used by their partners in their community work, as they are an essential guide for trainers to deliver three to four green livelihood courses to Samoan communities.

The publications have been translated into Samoan and are available for free as PDF documents and since it is the first version, Mr Atherton emphasised that they look forward to feedback in terms of improving them for future use.

Green Livelihoods Project Coordinator, Tuisafua Dave Chung, explained that the community course that they have rolled out so far has two primary goals: to raise awareness on the environmental threats in the rural communities and to promote green skills as well as behaviour and careers.

Each course is dedicated and very specifically caters for each community and every course is different and very unique to the ecosystem, community and the participants.

According to Tuisafua, the training guide is a kit to train the trainers and the guide is a resource to train the trainers.

"Just as the training guide acts as a resource to train the trainers, the community kit is what the trainers use to implement the course into the community,” he said. “This is a companion piece to the training guide, it's created for the community and edited as we went throughout the year.”

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