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‎"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Friday, October 14, 2011

2010-2011 Club P.A.N. update

As you know, Côte d’Ivoire was embroiled in civil war this past year. Sadly, because of this, we had to halt Club P.A.N.'s activities half way through the school term in the schools east of Tai National Park (TNP) and we were unable to conduct any lesson in the schools west of the park.

The teacher training did take place in October 2010 before the November elections which resulted in the political crisis that followed. Club P.A.N. then started in November and ran until January 2011 in the six schools east of the TNP.

The project coordinators attempted to go to the six schools west of the park but ran into problems with armed individuals in the region. Luckily however, they were able to remove themselves for the situation without any harm. The coordinators only got as far as Soubré, so the region around Tai village was not visited at all unfortunately.

In May 2011, meetings were held in all of the 6 villages to the West of the TNP where the reasoning behind the cancellation of the Club P.A.N. program was explained to the authorities, the school staff and the pupils. To encourage and support the West communities, alternative activities were carried out in collaboration with the CPE including symbolic tree planting, the Eco-Wozo school competition promoting Taï NP, a “Conservation Night” in Zagné which attracted 3000 local people to the event and a slide-show highlighting Club P.A.N.'s activities from the previous years.

Unfortunately Club P.A.N.'s base office in Soubré was looted in March during the crisis, resulting in much of our material being stolen including the pupils and parents’ final evaluations. To counteract this, we are now in the process of re-doing these final evaluations with the children from the East side schools.

The snail farm in Sakré was badly damaged due to a lack of maintenance of the past months, nevertheless the snails survived and now all that is needed is some repairs to keep the project going.

Despite the very difficult situation this year in Côte d’Ivoire, Club P.A.N. was fully active in the eastern schools. Even though it was impossible to carry out our activities to the west of the park, alternatives were found and implemented. These events demonstrated that the WCF/CPE and Club P.A.N. team is still present and involved in the community and still advocating for nature conservation and education.

One of our major strengths is the positive attitude and motivation of our local coordinators and teachers. Their innovation and creativity, especially in times of turmoil, have always brought people together for the sake of the TNP.

Because each school year we have new children joining the nature clubs and long-term conservation education programs have been shown as efficient to change local attitudes the WCF will continue the nature clubs for a fifth school year in 2011-2012. We also hope to possibly increase the number of participating schools as well as the number of micro-projects connected to the Club P.A.N. schools in the years to follow.

We look forward to a great 2011-2012 year and thank all of our current funders for their continues support!

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