Picture series: A new generation of trainers

   TwitCount
Conclusion of the TOT on the picture series methodology.
Photo Credit: Corinna Wallrapp

The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) has been using picture series as an adult education tool for communities that actively contribute to better natural resource management and improved livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) and beyond. In any pictures series booklet, expressive pictures and simple messages support thought processes, the making of connections between topics, and the understanding of rather scientific issues that nevertheless affect the everyday life of mountain communities.

Within this framework, several picture series community awareness sessions on different topics have been conducted in the past year and over the course of the first few months of 2017. To date, this unique methodology has been very well received by awareness session participants as well as KSLCDI project partners. This reception encouraged KSLCDI and its partners to increase the outreach and possible impact of the picture series technique. With support from the Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), ICIMOD organized a training of trainers (TOT) conducted by Heike Junger-Sharma, GIZ consultant, on the methodology of the picture series in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, India, in April 2017. A similar TOT on the picture series methodology was organized for ICIMOD staff and Kathmandu-based partners in Kathmandu in August 2016.

Besides KSLCDI partners such as CHEA and the GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD), the Uttarakhand Space Application Centre (USAC), local government officials, local NGOs such as the Harela Society, and cooperatives as well as community leaders from Pithoragarh actively participated in the two-day training organized in April 2017.

Participants discussing the different levels of resistance that can be found in communities and different people 
Photo Credit: Corinna Wallrapp

The first day started with a short welcome session followed by a power walk. As part of this exercise the participants took on varied roles ranging from “state minister” to “old woman living in a village” so as to understand the influencing capabilities of different groups and people. In order to sensitize future trainers on the potential challenges they might face when conducting awareness trainings, the participants were made to confront different levels of resistance within a community. This also included guidance on nuances related to the directness of instructions that a trainer can adopt, adapting the same to respective communities and their knowledge. Subsequently, the participants got to experience different application options for picture series. As part of group work, they created stories using only a limited number of illustrations, drawing pictures to fill in gaps and learning how to animate an audience to seek solutions. 

In the second half of the first day, the participants had to apply the skills they just learned. According to their needs and those of the target communities in and around Pithoragarh, they were able to choose between different picture series for their first hands-on exercise: “Greening the Honey and Chyura Products Value Chains”, “Yarshagumba Management”, “Springshed Management – Aspects of Groundwater and Hydrogeology”, “Springshed Management – Governance for Springshed Management”, which are available in English and Hindi. They also had the option of choosing either “Management of Invasive Alien Plant Species in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” or “Climate Change”, titles which are currently available only in English. In small groups, they practiced how to introduce themselves, how to show illustrations in a picture series to an audience, and how to ask targeted and meaningful questions in order to let a community draw connections and convey the messages represented in the used picture series. “This is a new way of learning for us, but also for communities. It is very practical and more convenient to use than for example, Power Point. Now we need to practice this new method and have to use it in the field,” said Ghanshyam Pande from CHEA.   

In order to consolidate their just learnt abilities, such as facilitation and how to play with given illustrations, the second training day started with another round of active exercise on the picture series. As participants got familiar with the methodology on the first day, they concentrated on developing their group steering capabilities on the second. They also worked on ways by which to stimulate more comprehensive thought and decision making processes in their test audience. “The training of trainers on the picture series was very interesting and resourceful. It enabled me to learn an effective mode of communication and will help me prepare training materials for my community on environmental and financial issues. I will start to construct materials as well as games based on the methodology. I believe it will be an excellent tool to help communities to understand complex issues and to get into action together,” said Chitranshi Dhami from the Harela Society. 

After a brief summary of the workshop, the picture series trainers agreed on possible training activities in communities around Pithoragarh in the near future and chose the respective picture series they want to hold an awareness session with. The training closed with an interactive feedback round giving the local trainers, who will now be able to go to communities and use the methodology effectively themselves, another boost to tackle the challenges ahead.