Sharing Conservation and Climate Awareness Messages Simply and Effectively
Michael Benedict, Rebecca Alfayo and Daniel Robert are three of the 60 students from Olmolog and Lerang’wa Primary Schools in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area trained by Oikos in the last year to develop conservation theatre plays. These children use drama as a means to create awareness and disseminate messages about conservation, wildlife and coexistence among the people of the villages in the wildlife management area. Collaborative techniques and improvisation activities were used to give students the opportunity to develop short skits on issues relating to conservation.
The children reported that, through this conservation programme, they have learnt different ways to protect and conserve their environment and wildlife. “Before this experience of participating in making this play with Oikos – says Michael Benedict, 16 years old – I had fear and negative feelings about wildlife and wild areas. I though there were no places for animals to be around us humans, I did not know that wild animals had the right to be with us and that we could coexist. When an animal came close to my house I thought that killing the animal was the only solution”.
Daniel Robert, 13, said participating in the theatre programme has changed his mind and perceptions: “I now understand the importance of the WMA and wildlife, I knows that this attracts tourists and brings income to the village of Olmolog and also job opportunities for people. I now know how to behave and keep safe when chasing animals away from crops using torches and chilli crackers”.
All of the students spoke excitedly about using theatre for saving animals and wildlife, they believe that this is the easiest way to deliver a clear and easily understandable message to many people in the community due to the fact that you “say something” through real actions. Rebecca Alfayo, 13, was thrilled to participate in the plays and said this was also excellent learning for the students who develop and deliver the plays: “It is a practical learning so it is easier to be understood”.
In addition to sharing a message about wildlife, conservation and the importance of the Wildlife Management Area, the experience of participating in these plays has changed the children’s mindsets: “Now I am more confident and I understand why animals are important. I’ll live trying to conserve our environment to tackle the impacts of climate change”.
To date, more than 1,500 people have had the opportunity to watch these plays, and requests for the positive and important messages the plays convey to be spread around the Wildlife Management Area and even further afield are on the increase.
The initiative is parte of the Connekt project, funded by the European Union.