Local Communication Program
Raising awareness for climate and forests
The overall climate protection & forest preservation project focuses on the protection and sustainable management of the remaining forests, the preservation of biological diversity, particularly that of Arabica-coffee and the reduction of climate change effects. This broad aim will not be achieved without informing and involving the local communities so that they play their respective role in the project implementation.
Therefore, it is important to promote and communicate the importance of forest preservation for climate protection as well as the concept of biosphere reserves to concerned local communities to create a common understanding for the project and its different activities.
Communication, discussions and mutual conflict-resolution are important parts of Ethiopian social life, especially in the rural areas. Often people make use of the traditional coffee ceremony which takes place 2-3 times daily to exchange and discuss news.
Adapting this concept has already achieved great success in Kafa in spreading information on family planning and combating HIV/AIDS. As part of this communication program young people from traditional youth clubs receive training and then pass on their knowledge to other young people in their own and neighbouring communities during coffee ceremonies. In order to have a common ground the development of a training manual used as a guide in the course of communication is essential.
In addition, regular project information events and interactive seminars with community members i.e. forest users and school children take place, to further raise awareness of the importance of forest and climate protecion and their linkages. Another promising method to dessiminate knowledge within the local population is the establishment of so-called “Site Support Groups” as implemented by BirdLife International in many African countries. The modified version of these groupd are the “Forest and Climate Protection Groups” (FCPG) of Kafe Biosphere Reserve. Here specific user-groups of forest or wetland areas for instance, will work towards conserving their specifically allocated ecosystem, keeping it in, or improving its natural state and drawing attention to problems.