Knowledge is power. But knowing how to share inspiring stories is even more powerful.
PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES – Twenty teachers from eight national high schools in Palawan leveled up their storytelling skills in a three-day knowledge sharing workshop organized by the Coral Triangle Initiative –Southeast Asia (CTI-SEA). It was held at Dolce Vita Hotel, Puerto Princesa City from 28-30 October 2016.
High school teachers shared lessons learned and challenges in doing their mangrove reforestation, coastal protection, and solid waste management projects in their municipalities in Taytay and Balabac.
Resource persons from the College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines Los Banos and CTI-SEA taught participants how to package these lessons in different communication materials and activities so they can build emotional connections and influence students, partners, and the community.
At the end of the workshop, teachers drafted proposals to develop knowledge products such as comics, brochures, signages, and videos that will teach organic farming, tree planting, and proper waste disposal among others.
Investing in communication is critical to a project’s success
Ms. Aurelia B. Marquez, Chief Education Supervisor under the Curriculum Implementation Division of Department of Education – Palawan, urged the teachers to improve their communication and storytelling skills so they can gain more stakeholder support.
“This is an investment in the future of Palaweños. Palaweños have a big heart for the environment after all,” she said.
CTI-SEA Communication Public Awareness Specialist Lourdes Caballero was grateful for the support of the Department of Education since teachers play a crucial role in motivating the youth and their parents. Since 2014, the project has partnered with 16 schools in Taytay, Balabac, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur to initiate school-led projects through the .
“Our campaign aims to educate, inspire, and engage the community especially students to protect the Coral Triangle. We believe that teachers are our partners in this effort. They can be more effective if we build not only their technical skills but also their communication skills. Teachers can tell powerful stories on how to protect the Coral Triangle,” she said.
Sharing and gaining from each others’ experience
During the three day workshop, teachers actively shared their issues and listened to new ideas from other schools. Randy Raquen from Bato National High School learned that games can be used to reinforce lessons and monitor projects.
“One of the best strategies I learned from other schools is monitoring through contests related to their current projects. I would be able to apply this in my project together with skills in taking pictures that tell developmental stories.”
Science teacher Myeline Galia from Calawag National High School also said that she gained many ideas from the other schools. This was her first time to attend a capacity-building activity of CTI-SEA and it helped her and fellow teachers think of creative ways to address reef destruction and widespread pollution in coastal areas.
“Right now, we’re planning to form an environmental organization for our school and schedule its activities. I gained new knowledge on mangrove planting. It has been years since I wanted to initiate this kind of project but did not know how to start. This learning was very memorable.”
Marivic Fruponga, a Science teacher from Abongan National High School, was delighted that fellow teachers were interested in their adopt-tree-project.
“Environmental projects have been a part of my responsibilities as a Science teacher. I am happy that I was able to impart one technique that worked in our school, the adopt-a-tree project, which Balabac National High School School will also use.”
Next step: Polishing the project proposal
By the first quarter of 2017, the schools are expected to carry out the proposals that they have submitted with the guidance of CTI-SEA and the support of the local government. The proposed knowledge products include the following:
- Abongan National High School – videos and brochures to raise awareness on dangers and effects of landslides and soil erosion
- Balabac National High School – informational signages on reforestation and deforestation
- Bato National High School – videos for teaching organic vegetable farming
- Busy Bees National High Scool – informational pamphlets and house visits to promote proper waste disposal
- Calawag National High School – informational signages on importance of trees
- Canique National High School – series of symposiums on waste segregation
- Central Taytay National High School – videos and brochures on importance of planting mangroves
- Pamantolon National High School – comics on mangrove reforestation
Teachers will receive seed funds to implement the project and they will get further training on how to craft their communication materials. The project hopes that the stories of change from each school will reach, inspire and win over future partners and heroes of the environment.