While September typically is when students gear up to return to classes, environmental leaders in Peru just finished their final presentations for our online Creative Collaboration course. This summer, a cohort of 16 grassroots leaders from environmental and educational organizations in Peru strengthened their collaboration skills despite not being in the same room. While many anticipated the course to be particularly challenging given the distance between the participants, all found that they had reached a new level of connectedness: by the end of the last session, the cohort members had learned new methods of engaging their communities remotely, and had built a strong network of trust, respect, and support they can rely on in their activism.
At the end of the course, the leaders were divided into groups and were tasked with presenting how they would apply what they learned in their communities. Within their groups, participants each embraced their new virtual modality, contributing ideas and concrete activities that took into consideration the specific needs and conditions of the community. Though the course only finished in August, participants have already started incorporating the collaborative skills they learned to address issues in their communities.
For example, Marlene from Asociación para la Conservación Amazónica is using the social identity mandala activity to learn about her community members in a more meaningful way and has started virtual meetings with stakeholders and institutions, making sure to include local community members in collaborative efforts to find solutions.
Carla from Acate Amazòn Conservaciòn also introduced several activities from the Creative Collaboration course in a meeting with community leaders, who found them so useful that they decided to replicate them to help facilitate problem-solving in their communities.
As the leaves change, we’re excited to see the changes that these environmental leaders catalyze in the towns and villages where they live and work.
For more information about our Creative Environmental Leadership Program, please visit our website.