1. USAID SEA Training Boosts Local Advocacy Program
USAID SEA carried out last month a training specifically tailored to participants of its local advocacy initiative called “Pejuang Laut,” or Sea Champions, Program. The training was held on 14-16 August in Ternate, North Maluku in eastern Indonesia and included 30 dedicated community-based advocates. The trainees were scouted from diverse backgrounds by USAID SEA implementing partner Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to help with awareness raising and outreach on marine conservation and fisheries sustainability. Facilitated by USAID SEA resident experts, the training combined lectures with basic leadership and Behavior Change Communication techniques and used a simple, easy-to-understand language that resulted in highly interactive sessions.
Topics ranged from an introduction to marine protected area management (“MPA 101”) to the more specialized topics on communication and advocacy. The session on “tragedy of the commons,” or how people often take advantage of resources that are freely available to them, and sessions that involved role-playing and use of social media were especially dynamic sessions that saw a lot of active participation from the participants. One of the social media sessions was a group competition to develop a powerful conservation message, where the winning team was allowed to post their message on the USAID SEA Facebook page. At the end of the training, the Sea Champions showed greater understanding of why community based marine conservation and surveillance are important to maintain fish stocks and ensure a sustainable future for local communities. Moreover, they showed increased capacity to confidently communicate and convey conservation messages to people from various backgrounds and education levels. Alongside this, WCS field enumerators, community officers, and field facilitators who participated in the training expressed their readiness to immediately implement the Sea Champions Program.