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Training Course for NGO Activists

"Public Participation in the Conservation of Small Rivers"
12-18 July 2004


The training course for NGO representatives entitled “Public Participation in the Conservation of Small Rivers” took place in Kyiv on 12–18 July 2004. It was organised by the Wetlands International Black Sea Programme and the Institute of Ecology (INECO) of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine. The training course was held at a boarding-house on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the People’s Friendship Park in Kyiv.

Twenty-five trainees (24 representatives of environmental NGOs, members of the Ukrainian Rivers Network, and an official from the State Agency for Protected Areas) and 14 trainers from different NGOs took part in the course. Two trainees (from Lvivska and Ternopilska Oblasts) gave lectures on the experiences of their NGOs in the conservation of small rivers.

The main topics were:

  1. Basics of river system functioning.
  2. The current environmental state of the small rivers in Ukraine.
  3. Life in small rivers. Species-indicators of the state of small rivers.
  4. Development and implementation of local environmental action plans (LEAPs).
  5. Organisation of field studies. Methods. Report writing.
  6. Nature photography techniques.
  7. Activities on river conservation and rehabilitation.
  8. Regional variations in the economic use of small rivers.
  9. Legal aspects of the conservation and restoration of small rivers and public participation in environmental decision-making. 
  10. Public monitoring of the state of rivers and their valleys.
  11. Basics of environmental protection: myths and reality.
  12. Public participation in environmental decision-making. Experience of Ukrainian and international NGOs; international initiatives.
  13. Co-operation between NGOs and local authorities: planning of joint activities.
  14. Collaboration with the mass media.
  15. Developing and implementing projects. Fund-raising. Preparing and handing in materials to official governmental bodies.
  16. Legal aspects of public participation in environmental impact assessment (environmental expertise).
  17. Environmental ethics and the environmental movement. Ethical aspects of the conservation of small rivers.
  18. Establishment of protected areas and assessment of state of established areas.
  19. Environmental education. Establishment of environmental trails.
  20. Creating a web-site for an organisation.

Two days were devoted to field studies and excursions entitled, “Study of a small river. Collecting materials for action plans” and “The river in its natural state, various ways in which small rivers are used”, as well as environmental games. The field excursions were conducted in the basins of small rivers in Kyiv Oblast: the Irpin, Stugna, Unava and Syvka. Participants were divided into three working groups, each with a trainer. During the field trip, each group gathered information about the state of a specific area of the Stugna. Thereafter, the groups worked on the development of action plans for the areas of the river that they had studied. On the last day of the course, the trainees presented their action plans.

A second training course on this theme was held in Ukraine. It was developed on the basis of the trainers’ own methods, improved with the help of experience obtained in organising the first training course, and adapted directly to the needs of environmental NGOs interested in the conservation and rehabilitation of small rivers. A cultural programme formed an important part of the training course: it included role plays, contests, improvisation and songs, and members of the “Eco-myloserdya” (Eco-Mercy) Charitable Fund (Sosnivka town, Lvivska Oblast) wrote an anthem for the Ukrainian Rivers Network especially for the training course.

In the opinion of the participants the training course was organised to a high standard; it was very intensive, informative and useful. Galyna Prociv, from the Berezhany Regional Branch of the All-Ukrainian Environmental League (Berezhany town, Ternopilska Oblast), wrote: "The URN training course does not simply involve study: it is study with new educational technologies. I do not know if it is possible or necessary to improve the course in any way, but the training should be conducted annually in the same way. And it will be a great success for the Ukrainian Rivers Network."


© 2005 Ukrainian Rivers Network

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