Belmont GULLS- Team India- 2nd Awareness workshop

As an integral part of the Belmont forum funded project “Global Understanding and learning for local solutions: reducing vulnerability of marine dependent coastal communities” the second Awareness workshop was held at the chosen study village of Elamkunnnapuzha on the 7th of August 2015. In the course of study, Team India has identified four major Climate change agents to be the torch bearers; this includes articulate children, proactive youth, experienced fishers and committed women. The second workshop therefore was primarily to sensitize school children, aged between 10 and 17.

Lecture Session:

Two schools were carefully chosen from the study area. The first school which the Belmont team visited was the Elamkunnapuzha Government Higher secondary school, with an audience of over two hundred students and their teachers. The program started with a prayer song, after which the school principal welcomed the Belmont team from CMFRI, which included Dr. Shyam. S. Salim, Dr. P.S. Swathilekshmi, contractual staff and the Elamkunnapuzha Ward member, Ms. Rosilyn. Dr. Shyam spoke to the audience about what brought the research team to their school; this was followed by an interactive lecture titled “Shaping children as climate change agents and leaders for the future”, the lecture dealt on topics such as the focus of GULLS project, science of Climate change, causes and effects of Climate change on society, especially the coastal communities, how climate change affects fisheries, and what one could do to tackle climate change at individual, household, community and society level. The session was made interesting by asking the audience questions, and rewarding the person who answered them. The lecture was followed by a small skit on “Environmental conservation at household level”, the skit was portrayed by students of the school, who were part of the Eco-club, while the script was penned down by the Belmont team. Dr. Swathi Lekshmi delivered the vote of thanks.

The second school that was chosen for the program was Santa Cruz Higher Secondary school, Puthuvype. The Belmont team was warmly received by the school authorities. Ms. Usha, the Principal of the school addressed the students of class 8 to 12, who were gathered for the lecture. She spoke about how unaware of climate change we were, and advised the students to lend their ears and grow their knowledge during the presentation, and added on to say that this lecture would not only benefit the school students but also the teachers, including her. Dr. Shyam, made an interactive presentation on Climate change, and how to go about combatting it at a Student’s level.

The interactions with the schools were done to develop a rapport with the next generation, and to form a climate group who would be pro-active to the changes the environment throws. This interaction was the first of the forthcoming events where the Belmont team would collaborate with school students in bringing awareness and sensitising the community in areas of coastal vulnerability and climate change.

Painting Competition:

Prior invitation was given to twenty schools spread geographically in the study area, regarding a Climate change awareness painting competition. The event took place in the Elamkunnapuzha panchayat hall, on the 7th of August, post lunch session. There were two hundred registered participants, from twenty different schools. The students were split into three categories based on age. The categories were, upper primary (Classes 5, 6 and 7), High school (Classes 8, 9 and 10) and Higher secondary (Classes 11 and 12). Separate topics were announced on the spot to each group , the topics ranged from, climate change and marine environment, climate change and marine environment ,climate change- today and tomorrow, climate change- how to tackle it?, protecting mother nature ,the warming planet, climate change – what i understand and perceive, pollution free village, waste management, disaster and fisher livelihoods. Within minutes, the hall was filled creativity; ideas from the students’ mind started taking shape on paper, hues known and unknown found their way in unleashing vivid imagination of the students. After a couple of hours the otherwise plain hall resembled an art gallery. The team of judges from CMFRI, Kochi, which consisted of Mr. David (Artist CMFRI), Mr. Abhilash (Photographer CMFRI) and Dr. Swathilekshmi.P.S (Principal Scientist, CMFRI) evaluated the paintings.

The valedictory function was presided by the President of Elamkunnapuzha panchayat- Ms. Beatrice, during the function she spoke of the CMFRI Belmont team’s unstinted efforts in spreading awareness on climate change, over the last one year. The event also had the releasing of Belmont Team India’s Climate education publication series “ClimEd Series- Learning & Coping Climate Change” by the president and ward members. The winners of the painting competition were announced and rewarded. Every other student who participated got a participation certificate and stationary kit. High tea was arranged for the participants of the event. The program ended with a sense of environmental awakening as the Belmont team members and the students together sang a Malayalam folk song on saving our planet.


This report (with images) can be viewed or dowloaded as a pdf document here.