Grace Albert

Grace Albert

North Rupununi District Development Board

Passing on the COBRA Approach

Practitioner's Handbook Training at Bina Hill Institute

February 25, 2015

From the 9th to 12th February 2015 the local COBRA team trained community leaders and other community representatives in the COBRA approach. This training session brought more persons into contact with the different methods used by the project and communities to identify community owned solutions and gives them the opportunity to identify their own challenges and solutions for their communities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACOBRA in its final period of closure, conducted Practitioners Handbook training with leaders and other community representatives at Bina Hill Institute from the 9th to 12th February, 2015. A total of 18 persons attended from the sixteen North Rupununi communities, with the majority being persons who were attending a COBRA meeting for the first time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the beginning of the training, the team presented a summarized overview of the project and its activities over the past three years. A few of the videos produced over the course of the project were screened to give the participants a better idea of the activities that occurred.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the training, the participants looked at current challenges that are being faced in the Rupununi. The identified challenges were then furthered discussed and the participants were asked to identify future impacts these challenges would have if there are no solutions.  Each group then discussed and identified the two most pressing challenges from the list they had developed. The challenges identified as priority issues were: Group 1 – food security and loss of culture, Group 2 – lack of proper education facilities and personnel in the communities and lack of management and loss of natural resources and Group 3 – Domestic Violence, drugs and alcohol abuse and Road accident.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever, after reviewing the six choices made, they were left with three challenges to document themselves, since the others there three had already been documented and filmed by the Cobra Project. The groups then further discussed these challenges and identified community owned solutions to these challenges.  This then set the stage for them to develop their videos and photostories to capture the following challenges

  1. Community Based Agriculture for Food Security
  2. Enforcement of  community rules and regulations for Domestic Violence, Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
  3.  Community Initiatives to help build and  improved education facilities  in their communities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the main problems encountered by the participants was in understanding the selection process of a community owned solutions to the challenges they were currently facing. The participants had a long list of solutions but could not say if these solutions were working well or not. These challenges are relatively new and testing solutions will be an ongoing process. Nevertheless, they managed to understand the process after a few examples of community challenges and solutions were given and chose those solutions that were showing positive results.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next step was how to document the challenge and its solution. The groups learnt how to storyboard to develop their stories. They then used NRDDB staff, the students from the Secondary school and role playing amongst themselves to practice and further develop their stories. During the documentation of the three community owned solutions, the participants found it really engaging and interesting since it was all about drawing, filming and role playing their own ideas and solutions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the final day of the training, one of the participants from Aranauputa among others express her feeling of being part of the training where she stated that she felt happy and that she felt as though she was back at school and recommended that in the future training should be hosted in the communities so we can meet people who never experienced the Cobra approaches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe participants commended each other for the team work and effort showed during the training session and with the full support by the COBRA team and in particular the Chairman of the NRDDB who was an elderly guidance and support to the team.  The participants were happy with their production of videos to their solution which they documented and edited during the training session. It was requested that copies of the videos needed to take back as it would help them to report to the community about the training

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