Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Monday, 12 March 2007
Monday, 12 March 2007 19:53

Conservation Awareness

The Nepalese economy is subsistence based with more than 80% of the population depending on agriculture for a livelihood. However, not only is productivity below the expected level, but the yield is also declining. Loss of the soil fertility caused by land erosion is identified as one of the major factors causing the decline in productivity.

Land erosion is the result of continuous improper use of natural resources. Therefore, to improve the overall living standard, communities must be made aware of these problems. Local communities should be taught how to manage natural resources in sustainable way. However, for this to succeed there must be a grass root level of participation from the initial stage of a project’s conception right through to the stage of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Local people, such as farmers and other interested groups, need to be empowered to identify problems, as well as given training in the skills needed to implement programs and monitor and evaluate their performance and effects. To ensure this grass root level of participation, the community first needs to be convinced that improving resource management is in their long term interests. Then, once people have understood this, resource management and awareness programs should be initiated.

To be successful, however, it is essential that awareness programs recognize the existing level of knowledge, local skill and indigenous technology. Furthermore, local cultural, social, economical and geographic characteristics should be factored in. As young minds are more flexible, an effective way to disseminate and impart this kind of knowledge is through special school programs. In addition, it is important to assess the different gender roles and include special provision for these in the programs, for example, women are the primary consumers of forest resources,.

Furthermore, the awareness programs must be tailor-made to suit the capacity of the students. For example, older students may find writing stories, essays and poems as well as holding debates as suitable methods, whereas younger children will understand the concept better through drawing or painting. Printing and displaying the results of the students’ projects will help develop conservation awareness in the family and community.

Initiating such a programs has both long-term and short-term advantages. Educating smaller children about conservation is obviously directed at long-term benefits, whereas buildings awareness among adults will reap short-term advantages. Furthermore, although children do not have a direct influence on the use of natural resources, they can play an important role by providing guidance to their parents and therefore influence the short term. However, this is not to imply that direct users do need awareness programs, but children’s knowledge would be supplementary and influential.

Due to the advantage of a classroom environment, it is easier and more convenient to teach school students the more technical aspects of conservation. Refresher courses will be important to sustain the vitality of these programs.

Finally, students can also play an important role in conservation through actively planting trees and shrubs, holding public demonstrations and campaigning through the distribution of pamphlets, displaying posters and delivering public speeches. However, the key to any such projects are the teachers. Therefore, it essential to train educators in conservation awareness.

Obviously, to initiate such nation-wide projects won’t be easy, but as conservation of natural resources is essential to nation’s prosperity and everyone’s well-being, doing so should become a national priority.

Attached media :
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