Rural Development Agency implements environmental awareness raising activity at rice festival in Xayabouly Province

Staff and volunteers of RDA and DEQP recently gained new environmental awareness raising approaches and experience in the field, what the Promotion of Climate-related Environmental Education (ProCEEd) project usually calls “learning by doing.” ProCEEd is now involving RDA, a new civil society organization (CSO), in environmental education activities, which will strengthen the cooperation between CSOs and government in implementing environmental awareness activities.  After a five-day training workshop hosted by ProCEEd (18-22 Dec2017), Rural Development Agency (RDA) and Department of Environment Quality Promotion (DEQP) staff and volunteers were ready to implement activities in Xayabuoly province. From 8–12 January, 2018, the team got the chance to apply their skills from the training workshop in the field. They aimed to raise awareness on biodiversity conservation for visitors at Boun Kongkao yai festival (rice festival) in Xayabouly province, and to engage more youth and communities in biodiversity conservation.

Many activities were offered at the festival. RDA’s educational booth was divided into two sides: the first side presented a learning corner about natural resource management, re-forestation, and biodiversity and environmental preservation. In this corner, many documents, posters and newsletters were displayed, including a photo exhibition that provided information about the world’s natural balance. Participants could also engage in writing activities. The second side of the booth was dedicated to other activities, such as an environmental conservation Q & A activity, puzzles, a food chain poster game and another writing activity centering on the topic, “We are together for biodiversity and environmental conservation.” These activities encouraged the community to expand their knowledge related to biodiversity conservation, all while enjoying themselves.

Approximately 300 to 500 people joined the festival events every day, and at least 50 to 100 people came to visit RDA’s booth daily. Some visitors joined teams to play games with the facilitators, some participated in a question-and-answer activity, and some shared their opinion about biodiversity conservation and environmental protection on a poster chart writing activity. RDA performed a story called “My home” next to the

By the end of the festival, hundreds of people had learned about biodiversity conservation through various activities and gained knowledge on environmental issues. ProCEEd hopes the educational activities at the Xayabouly rice festival will lead visitors to change their attitudes and adopt more environmentally friendly behaviors.