“Community Concepts and Communications for Understanding REDD+ and MRV” is the focus of a Guiana Shield Facility (GSF) funded project being implemented by the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB). Download project document here.
The NRDDB applied for the grant under the GSF Call for Proposals “Aligning Community MRV to national MRV for REDD+ Readiness” which aimed at aligning community monitoring, reporting and verification (CMRV) system with the ongoing national MRV system, so that the CMRV activities may be integrated into the national framework for REDD+ readiness. This project is aligned with the national priority on REDD+.
The aim of the NRDDB project is for communities in the North Rupununi to develop a deeper understanding of MRV and REDD+ by enabling and empowering then to examine the concepts from a community perspective, drawing primarily upon their own language, traditional knowledge and their own indigenous world view.
As such, the understanding of the sixteen (16) communities (Fairview, Surama, Wowetta, Rupertee, Kwatamang, Annai, Apoteri, Rewa, Crashwater, Aranaputa, Massara, Yakarinta, Toka, Kawimatta, Katoka and Yupukari) will be deepened through their interpretation and articulation of these concepts by creating content for culturally appropriate community communications tools that will be produced and delivered by indigenous community members themselves.
Consequently, several activities were executed in an effort to achieve the objectives of the project such as the definitions, translations and broadcasting of key definitions on the Community Radio – Radio Paiwomak. This work was primarily done by the women-led Makushi Research Unit (MRU), a member of the NRDDB.
In an interview with Mrs. Paulette Allicock, Coordinator, MRU, and Mrs. Benita Roberts, Assistant Coordinator, MRU, it was emphasized that “in order to effectively communicate particularly vital information to the approximately six thousand (6,000) population of the North Rupununi, the traditional language must be spoken.”
To this end, the MRU has worked to develop simple accurate definitions and explanations of REDD+, Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), MRV and CMRV. They have also explored the importance of these initiatives and the role of indigenous peoples.
Moreover, in order to reach all the communities of the North, a radio programme was designed. Four recorded episodes were produced and aired twice per day during the “Eye on the Environment” programme. Click on the links below to listen.
In order to ensure the project is achieving the desired impact and high level of effectiveness, community meetings were held to receive feedback and provide clarification on information not clear to the residents. To date, community outreaches were conducted in Apoteri, Rewa, Crash Water, Yukarinta, Katoka, Yupukari, Kwaimatta and Rupertee. Approximately two hundred (200) persons participated.
Paul Nash, Community Outreach Coordinator, explained that the feedback has been overwhelming. He noted that residents have commended the NRDDB for such initiative since they are better positioned to practice MRV at the community level.
The Coordinator also posited that there needs to be a boost in the number of times the recordings are played on radio so that the persons who are still not to clear will be able to gather the knowledge in the near future.
He believes that the success indicators have shown that the project is right on target and will see significant behavioural changes in the communities.
Further, Chairman of NRDDB, Michael Williams, and Chief Executive Officer, Ivor Marslow, posited that while there are gaps and challenges but the project is bearing fruit and residents must be applauded for their contributions and willingness to participate in the process.
A youth engagement also formed part of the project. A quiz competition was hosted on radio and the Bina Hill Youth Learning Centre instrumentally created a theme song and produced a video on climate change. Click here to view.
The GSF-funded project is now at a stage of developing posters and other printed materials to enhance public education and awareness so that even at the end of the one year project, residents will be reminded of the role they should play in the MRV at the community level.
Additionally, students and teachers at Youth Learning Centre are currently reviewing the Ecosystem Services Module to extract information that is useful to educate the wider population. The Module was developed by the Bina Hill Institute in 2010 with the support of the Guiana Shield Initiative.
Importantly, while there is an ongoing CMRV project in the communities, it is focused on developing and transferring cutting edge technologies to a group of thirty (32) community monitors in the use of technology tools and processes for mapping and monitoring a variety of natural resources on community lands.
Further, it is anticipated that by the end of the one-year project there will be an improved and increased capacity to make decisions and take leadership on CMRV activities and related LCDS/REDD+ opportunities. In this way, indigenous peoples in the North Rupununi, who are the rights holders to their community lands, forest and resources, will be better able to shape the community and National REDD+ and MRV agenda with their own priorities and approaches at the helm. This would provide important lessons for other Amerindian and indigenous communities throughout Guyana and the Guiana Shield.