Having the chance to watch and participate in the training programme for the Kate Stokes Memorial Award training last weekend was a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I was able to observe, take pictures, suggest additional fun activities and give a short presentation.
During my time in Sri Lanka I have become used to discussions being held in Sinhala whilst I watch, unable to understand the words. But I have also developed my observational skills to pick up on many other things that are going on.
And this was the case with this training programme - I was able to study the body language of trainers and trainees and get a real sense of what was being conveyed and how, due to the hard work of the ECO-V team, the participants were 100% engaged with the lectures and activities.
It was great to see some of the activities that I had suggested and helped to develop - particularly the performances of the environmental stories. These were great fun, and also showed that the groups had put real thought into how to communicate a conservation message - a crucial skill.
I was especially happy to participate with the other resource persons in our own performance. We were able to show that we weren't too proud to get involved, and I was able to fulfill a lifetime's ambition and pretend to be an aye-aye in front of an audience!
As I was observing, I was able to take particular notice of the lighter side of proceedings - as these photographs show:
What all the laughter really showed me was the spirit amongst this group of young people, their willingness to learn as much as they can to help protect the environment, and the effectiveness of the ECO training in connecting with them. I was left feeling that the future of Sri Lanka’s rural environment is in safe hands.
Many more photos can be seen on the slideshow on the left toolbar - clicking on it will take you to the full sized pictures.