It had to be a radio series. Working to promote lemur conservation education around Ranomafana National Park, SOS Grantee Katherine Kling of Stony Brook University, needed a way to reach a wide audience while involving many other community members in the production process. And a radio series offered the ideal solution.
This exciting collaboration between Stony Brook’s Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE), Centre ValBio (CVB) and PLAY Madagascar has already begun: making a 10 episode radio series weaving scientific perspectives about lemur lives with the cultural fabric of rural communities.
“The series is complemented by an education pack and teacher training activities. These support rural children in better understanding the interconnected environmental needs right here in their backyard”, adds Emma Browne, community radio organiser working closely with Katherine.
So far, a variety of voices, children, women and men, young and old, have contributed to a diverse archive of audio files that will inform the development of the 10 podcasts.
Meanwhile, a workshop in April with teachers from 10 remote villages involved discussions about the impact of radio in the classroom and using stories for teaching about environmental issues.
Next, a pilot first episode was developed as a template for exploring supporting educational resources and gaining feedback from the target audience: students and teachers.
According to Florent Ravoavy, Coordinator of CVB’s Conservation Education and Outreach Department, who has been collecting local stories from school children and village elders over the past 20 years, “Madagascar has a long tradition of storytelling as a way of passing knowledge across generations. Children, especially young ones, love to listen to tales about animals, of heroes from the past, and quickly learn lessons imbued.
Pressures on families and changes in technology mean that intergenerational exchange seems to be happening less and less however, but there is so much important knowledge among elders to be valued and shared.”
One activity involved students gathering stories from family members and sharing them with peers in order to compare contexts, understand changes in their own environment across their lifetime and relate their stories to how they impact biodiversity and lemur populations.
For Katherine, this approach underpins the project’s principles of collaboration and co-construction of learning and will be a key part of the project’s success.
As Lovasoa Razafindravony, manager of CVB’s My Rainforest, My World project explains, “At every step of the project we make sure that we are talking with teachers and students, involving their knowledge, their interests and dreams in the process so they have a strong sense of ownership and contribution in the end.”
Now, as the team commences the next phase of the project, involving compilation and storyboarding of the radio episodes, they look to keep the excitement building for when the first episodes are broadcast later this year.
SOS has funded 11 lemur conservation projects so far.
These lemur projects are just some of 109 conservation projects supported by IUCN’s SOS initiative to date. With your valuable support we can continue to find and fund the best frontline conservation tackling issues like habitat degradation, invasive species, wildlife crime, species recovery and alternative livelihoods. Please donate now and help SOS save more species.