So far, various tools have been developed for raising awareness so as to impact the maximum of target groups: school children, peasants, women, decision makers. Those tools include video sessions, other public events (football and handball tournaments), drawing competitions, distribution of posters, leaflets and T-shirts bearing important conservation messages.
Since 2010 a “Hippo day” is organized in the Taï region on a yearly basis. This year (2011), the “Hippo day” took place on July 29th and consisted in organizing an awareness parade across the city, and a public competition between 5 schools from Taï town and 3 villages. That competition was organized under several forms: (i) questions asked to competitors about the pygmy hippos and their habitat after a video projection (ii) poems, drawings and songs; (iii) tournament of football/hand ball. The innovation for this year consisted in rewarding the best pupils at school.
During 1 hour, children’s covered the streets of Taï town with banner and songs advocating for the protection of the Pygmy Hippo protection and its habitat. All children were dressed with t-shirts emblazoned with the image of the pygmy hippo and a message for its protection. This parade and other activities involved teachers and local authorities including the representative of the official management agency for the Taï National Parc.
a) Children’s selected for the parade b) video projection session (Photos Karim Ouattara)
2- FILM PROJECTION
A video made by Marco Polo on the behaviour of the pygmy hippo was presented to children’s to let them know more on the morphology, biology and habitat of that special animal. After the video projection a quiz session was organized. In addition children were asked to formulate strong take-home messages.
c) Quiz party in classrooms d) Quiz party during sport competition pause (Photos K. Ouattara)
3- AWARD FOR BEST STUDENTS
During this “hippo day”, we decided in collaboration with the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS), our partner institution, to contribute in promoting excellence amongst pupils, especially girls. The best pupils of the year by school level received important kits including back bags, copy-books and books. The “award ceremony” was another opportunity to advocate for the protection of pygmy hippos.
e) The mayor of Taï rewarding pupils f) Best pupils by classes level (Photos K Ouattara)
4- SPORT COMPETITION
This competition is followed by many people including adults. Also during the break time of each match, we broadcasted messages for the protection of pygmy hippos and their habitats and let children give similar messages to their parents.
Trophies and teams dressed with tee-shirts with hippo images (Photos K Ouattara)
Methodology and Workplan for 2012
Next year (2012) we will involve more schools in our activities and develop another component of the pygmy hippo program through (i) a contribution to improving the working conditions of teachers and pupils by supplying hippo water rollers, and (ii) organizing a workshop between all stakeholders’ involved in the conservation of pygmy hippos.
Evaluation: outline your strategy for monitoring and evaluating how your aims will be met. Include how you will define and measure success
Impact of awareness programme
In 2011, the drawing competition between schools, allowed us to assess the impact of our awareness raising activities (video projection, oral discussions).
Indeed, amazingly a kid from one village involved in our programme built a pygmy hippo with clay (see picture below) although he had never ever seen a pygmy hippo except from the one seen in “our video”.
(Photo K Ouattara)
In 2012, we will continue our awareness campaign (as summarized above, with slightly modified components) as well as aim to improve the working conditions of the teachers/pupils.