Communications and Awareness Raising
Output 5: A nation-wide wetlands awareness campaign is designed and implemented.
Output 5.1: A Communications and Awareness Section is established within the PMU.
A locally recruited, technically qualified and appropriately experienced specialist will be engaged to serve as Co-ordinator of the Communications and Awareness Programme. The coordinator will assemble a team of specialists and will prepare a long-term programme for approval by the NPD. Quarterly work plans and budgets will be submitted for review prior to implementation.
Output 5.2: National public awareness and opinion surveys are conducted.
Baseline Situation:The level of awareness for wetlands issues in Pakistan is generally very low. Reduced sawareness levels were also repeatedly cited as a root cause of conservation problems during the consultative phase of the PDF (B).
Implementation: This survey, components of which will be repeated at least twice during the Project period, will be aimed at accumulating qualitative and quantitative information about public awareness, at all levels, concerning wetlands issues and public opinion in respect of the need for proactive freshwater and wetlands conservation issues.
Output 5.3: Communications and awareness building strategy is developed, approved and implemented.
Baseline Situation: The information on public awareness acquired during the PDF (B) phase of the Project was insufficient to serve as a basis for the development of an advanced communications and awareness strategy.
Output 5.2 is designed to provide such baseline information that will facilitate the development of a well-targeted and balanced strategy.
Capitalising on the experience gained in the MACP, the PWP Co-ordinator, Communications and Awareness will formulate a strategy and submit it to the NPD for approval with a schedule of estimated costs. The components of the strategy will include but not be confined to Outputs 5.4 – 5.10.
Output 5.4: A wetlands communication network is established.
Baseline Situation: Recent advances in information technology have introduced a modicum of Internet connectivity to many parts of Pakistan. It may be safely assumed that this trend toward enhanced cyber communications will improve. In these circumstances, the creation and maintenance of a web-based wetlands communication network would be a useful communications tool.
The basic network of agencies and individuals established during the PDF (B)’s consultative phase will be enlarged upon and amalgamated with information from the Donor Forum that has been established for the Project. Additions to the network will also be recruited through hyperlinks to the Federal Government’s GEF website (www.gefpak.gov.pk) and WWF Pakistan’s website (www.wwfpak.org), among others.
Output 5.5: A primary schools outreach programme is designed and implemented.
Baseline Situation: A superficial review of classroom materials available in a cross-section of primary schools that were encountered during the survey component of the PDF (B) Project and WWF-P school visits revealed an almost complete dearth of indigenous natural resource material illustrating indigenous biodiversity.
The output will, in an innovative way, identify areas within existing, primary level subject curricula where environmental principles and awareness of wetlands may be introduced without formal changes in the overall curricula. Appropriate material will be introduced indirectly by the preparation of appropriate teaching aids and materials, within the context of the existing curricula, that will then be disseminated to the teachers of selected schools. This initiative may be extended to secondary schools if deemed appropriate by the PSC. Secondary components of the output will include the preparation of a short course in wetlands awareness for primary school teachers of all subjects and the production of a companion booklet for primary teachers with the working title: “Teaching Environmental Awareness in Primary Schools”.
Output 5.6: A religious leaders outreach programme is implemented.
Baseline Situation: Despite the reality that in excess of 97% of the people of Pakistan are Muslims, little has been done to integrate Islamic religious philosophy and conservation. A WWF-P Project in Chitral District in 1990 significantly changed attitudes among the local public to the hunting of waterfowl by working through community religious leaders. The MACP also successfully established positive links with religious scholars at an early stage in that Project.
The Project will establish contacts with the Ulema (religious scholars)to facilitate environmental education in religious schools. It will also produce material for use in sermons based on quotes from the Holy Qur’an and Hadith and improve the level of environmental awareness of religious teachers.
Output 5.7: A comprehensive mass media outreach programme is implemented.
Baseline Situation: The increasing reach of mass media in remote areas of Pakistan presents a valuable opportunity to extend environmental awareness to vast sections of the population.
Implementation: The Project’s national awareness campaign will capitalise on appropriate opportunities to use the local and national press, radio broadcasts (VHF) and television to disseminate information about wetlands and generally raise public awareness for wetlands issues. The output will include the preparation of a 55-minute documentary film on wetlands. This will be dubbed into key languages such as Pashtu, Brahvi, Saraiki and Sindhi for use in ad hoc extension education programmes and regional TV broadcasts.
Output 5.8: A sports hunters’ outreach programme is designed and implemented.
Baseline Situation: Modern sport hunters in Pakistan tend to come from the upper of echelons society and are inherently influential but difficult to control. The disparity between the social standing of rural wildlife guards from relatively impoverished villages and the elite, often wealthy, sports hunters is usually sufficient to render effective law enforcement improbable. As enforcement alone is inadequate to change attitudes, self-regulation by the hunters seems to be one of the few viable socially acceptable options.
Implementation: Since ineffectively regulated sport hunting of waterfowl has consistently emerged as a cause of biodiversity loss in wetlands, the Project will endeavour to organise the waterfowl hunters of the country, increase their level of awareness for the problems that exist and encourage them to regulate their activities. Sporting firearms and ammunition traders and target shooting clubs will be used as an initial avenue of contact with waterfowl hunters.
Output 5.9: A public awareness programme based on street theatre performances is implemented.
Baseline Situation: A pilot Project supported by the GEF/UNDP Small Grants Programme demonstrated that traditional street theatre is an effective tool for awareness raising areas with low literacy rates. The Project was carried out in the Saraiki language areas of the south central Punjab and was most successful in impoverished areas with low literacy rates.
Implementation: The pilot Project’s lessons will be incorporated and will be expanded upon to include all significant components of the Indus River Dolphin home range, especially northern Sindh between Guddu and Sukkur irrigation barrages. The feasibility of using a similar approach for awareness raising on wetlands issues will be investigated for other suitable project sites.
Output 5.10: A Pakistan wetlands website is commissioned and created.
Baseline Situation: A recent government evaluation of the annual growth of Pakistan’s PC-based Internet users indicates that it may be as high as 25% per annum. Commercial Internet access providers are established in most areas that have landline or microwave telecommunications links.
Implementation: A well illustrated, interactive and effectively cross-linked website will be designed, launched on the World Wide Web and maintained for the duration of the Project. The language medium will be English but the possibility of providing hyperlinks to significant texts translated into Urdu will be investigated.
Output 5.11: Wetland exhibits for information centres are designed and installed.
Baseline Situation: A range of different agencies have developed wildlife and natural history exhibits in major cities of Pakistan. These include the National Museum of Natural History in Islamabad, the WWF-P Wetlands Centre in Karachi and the Gilgit Conservation and Information Centre. None, except, the WWF-P Wetlands Centre, focuses on wetlands or provides specific wetlands related information. Likewise, major towns and cities associated with the four selected Project Demonstration Sites do not have any suitable exhibition of wetlands ecology that could be used as a teaching, training or awareness raising aid.
If a series of wetlands teaching exhibits were to be produced for each of the major city centres, it is likely that they would share a common or generic component that might include as much as 75% of each exhibit. The PWP will facilitate the development of wetlands exhibits at a range of suitable venues in Pakistan’s major cities and in the principal town centres associated with the selected wetlands Demonstration Sites. This will be a relatively economical exercise as it will involve the design and replication of up to eleven copies of each modular component. An estimated 25% of expenditure would be associated with ‘customising’ each centre in terms of local content.