A three-day training course was held in Podgorica for 20 environmental NGOs from Serbia and Montenegro to learn how to communicate on biodiversity conservation in a better way with different stakeholders.
For the team of the project Partnership actions for biodiversity protection in Western Balkans the first days of December were devoted to communications in Natura 2000. A three-day training workshop was held in Podgorica, and representatives of NGOs from Montenegro and Serbia attended it. The training was organized by NGO Green Home, in cooperation with Young Researches from Serbia, and it was facilitated by WWF experts Christoph Stein and Petra Boic Petrac.
Mr Stein started the training with a session on advocacy. In order to create links with the training course on advocacy and lobbying, which was held in June this year in Belgrade, Mr Stein facilitated the session on advocacy through an excellent exercise on the definition of advocacy and searching for articles from local newspapers on this issue. He followed with a new session on the development of political messages. Petra Boic Petrac ended the first day of the training speaking about Earth Hour. Showing examples from WWF’s global campaign, Petra described to the participants that substantial results can be reached by successful communications even in a short period of time. She presented the successes of Earth Hour in the whole region of the Western Balkans, and Natasa Kovacevic from Green Home presented the success of Earth Hour in Montenegro in the last two years.
The second day of the course concentrated on Natura 2000. Boic Petrac conducted a session on communicating efficiently about the ecological network. In this session the NGOs were divided into three groups: stakeholders directly or indirectly concerned with Natura 2000 (farmers, landowners, tourist workers, foresters, hunters, fishermen), local and state governments (those whose laws affect Natura 2000) and the general public emphasizing how best to communicate with each group. A session with guest journalists showed the participants how to more efficiently write a press release. There followed a session on advocacy strategy and communications and building coalition. Tanja Petrovic and Milka Gvozdenovi from Young Researchers of Serbia presented the results achieved so far on a project and announced the contest for small grants. Within this IPA project the funds for 15 small grants were envisaged (5 in Montenegro and 10 in Serbia).
The final day of the training was dedicated to small grants. The project team enabled to the participants of the training reflection on their projects and its presentation. They presented their ideas and the most common topics were the education of children on Natura 2000 in elementary school.
Participants and the project team were very pleased with the training course, and the very good collaboration during all three days in more than rainy Podgorica.