Matt Simpson

Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (Consulting) LTD
Slimbridge, United Kingdom

COBRA Training Session

How to find and share Community Owned Solutions: a new approach to community engagement

February 25, 2015

A report on the COBRA Handbook one-day training session held on 23rd January 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.

On 23rd January 2015 a one-day training session was held at the stunning setting of Flagey in Brussels, Belgium. The session aimed to introduce participants to the key principles, concepts and techniques of the Community Owned Solutions approach.

Claudia Nuzzo - Creative Commons

Claudia Nuzzo – Creative Commons

Community Owned Solutions, developed by Project COBRA, can be used in engaging communities to identify and share their own solutions to sustainability challenges such as climate change adaptation, biodiversity loss, natural resource depletion, lack of governance, health emergencies and cultural loss. The approach is fundamentally transdisciplinary and holistic, providing insights for practitioners working in the fields of development, nature conservation, health, natural resource management, social welfare and education.

Engaging with communities can be difficult, yet with the right approach, significant results can be obtained. Community Owned Solutions help create an environment of mutual respect that can make engagement more effective while empowering the community to take control of how they wish their community to develop and face up to current and emerging challenges.

The training centred around an introduction to the practitioner COBRA Handbook, which provides detailed and easily accessible explanations on key concepts and techniques, alongside a series of activities which can be carried out with communities.

Claudia Nuzzo - Creative Commons

Claudia Nuzzo – Creative Commons

The twenty six practitioners from a range of disciplines and backgrounds attending the course took part in sessions on the COBRA Handbook concepts and techniques and hands-on activities to introduce participatory visual techniques. By the end of the workshop groups of participants had identified, storyboarded, videoed and produced a film of a Community Owned Solution which they then shared with the wider group of participants.

Participants were asked to reflect on the training and what they had learnt. The following provides a selection of comments:

“I enjoyed learning about another participatory tool, in such a hands-on way”

“I enjoyed sharing ideas, debating about local challenges of indigenous people through positive and negative roles. The work in groups was very fun and interesting”

“There was great participation and energy in the group. It was a nice mix between concepts and practical activities”

“The Community Owned Solution approach looks like a good way to promote collective self-esteem and Indigenous social innovation”

“Community Owned Solutions recognises the value of local solutions and communication”

“Community Owned Solutions seems like a very solid strategy for helping community’s feel out what they need, what they actually already do well etc. whilst avoiding ‘pitfalls’ of expert advice from outside”

Claudia Nuzzo – Creative Commons

The COBRA team would like to thank all of the participants for their enthusiasm and willingness to share their experiences with the group. The feedback and experience of running the training course has already allowed us to make improvements and respond to the needs of participants. We look forward to training more people in the Community Owned Solutions approach in the future. If you would like to know more then please download the COBRA Handbook and if you are interested in future training courses then please contact us.




QUICK DOWNLOAD: Check out the English version of the COBRA Handbook for Practitioners.