Middle East trainers take the flyways approach home with them
The first training course aimed at spreading the flyways approach to the conservation of waterbirds and wetlands across an entire region has taken place in Amman, Jordan. The regional “training of trainers” (ToT) workshop was conducted by the BirdLife International Middle East Secretariat, in its capacity as the Regional Centre for the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (BirdLife in Jordan).
A group of trainers from ten countries across the region learned how to train others effectively, and to bring flyway conservation into the mainstream of their countries’ conservation planning. Fifteen people from Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Qatar took part, representing governmental organisations and civil society organisations, and led by the BirdLife Partners and network organisations in these countries.
The programme consisted of learning sessions from the new WOW Flyway Training Kit, which addresses a wide range of issues relevant to flyway conservation in three modules: Understanding the Flyway Approach to Conservation, Applying the Flyway Approach to Conservation, and Communicating the Flyway Approach. The modules are designed to be tailored to local conditions and requirements. They were translated into Arabic by BirdLife’s Amman office, with specific Middle Eastern examples added.
“…these trainers should now be capable of delivering national training and awareness raising events related to flyway conservation” —Sharif Al Jbour, BirdLife International
The ToT also provided trainers with a practical framework on how to hold national workshops on selected flyway conservation themes, based on individual training and awareness-raising and outreach needs.
A field exercise was part of the course, and participants visited the Azraq wetland reserve, around 100 km east of Amman. This is one of the only permanent, natural wetlands in the Jordanian desert, as well as being Jordan’s only Ramsar site, and the trainers learned of its importance to the flyway, and the major challenges to conserving it.
“The Training of Trainers workshop has helped to establish the WOW Flyway Training Programme regionally, and to build a pool of regional trainers capable of identifying major training needs within their countries”, said BirdLife’s Sharif Al Jbour. “At the same time these trainers should now be capable of delivering national training and awareness raising events related to flyway conservation".
“This training course was a milestone … for flyway scale conservation of waterbirds” —Dr Jonathan Barnard, Senior Programme Manager at BirdLife
In the near future, the WOW project partners plan to see a number of national workshops being planned in different countries in the region as a result of the ToT workshop.
“This training course was a milestone in the process of building capacity for flyway scale conservation of waterbirds within the African-Eurasian region”, added Dr Jonathan Barnard - Senior Programme Manager at BirdLife. “It leads directly into further national training in these countries, as well as supporting the regional training planned under WOW and the AEWA WetCap projects”.
The ToT workshop was funded by the Middle East sub-regional component of the Wings Over Wetlands UNEP/GEF African-Eurasian Flyways Project, and both Wetlands International and the AEWA Secretariat.