Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Leading workshops to promote the mahandakini community library

For the last week, eight of us have been living in a grain store in the small rural village of Mahandakini in Tsavo.  Our accommodation comes complete with an amazing view of Mount Kilimanjaro which we can see each day.  We are staying next to a newly built workshop made out of mud which is now home to a new community library which opened just this weekend.  The library is stocked with a number of amazing books and as the only library in the area it will become a useful resource for local community members.  For the past few days, we have been helping the Mahandakini Network for Animal Welfare and Rights (a community based organisation) and Tsavo Pride (NGO) to set up the library.

The new Mahandakini community library!
Now that the library is open, the group need to promote it in order to get the local communities to use it.  I was given the task of leading a workshop to see how the group could encourage adults and children to utilise the amazing resources in the library.  In a pre-workshop meeting with the other volunteers, we came up with several ideas that we knew would work well at home, but not necessarily in Mahandakini as we needed to know more information about what the group wanted and whether they had any money to use for advertising.  To get around these problems and a lack of knowledge, I held a workshop with the group so we could share some ideas, giving me a better understanding of how I could improve my ideas to fit in with the needs of the group and the community.

Georgia leads a workshop with the Mahandakini Network for Animal Welfare and Rights
We started by discussing ideas about who the group thought were their target market and why these people might want to use the library.  Once we’d discussed these ideas we also looked at different activities that could run from the library and how we could encourage people to come along to them.  We discussed a number of ways that the group could advertise these activities ranging from attending school assemblies, to placing posters in nearby communities.

I was very nervous about leading the workshop but I hoped it would be useful for the group and interesting for me.  The workshop was actually very encouraging and the group already had a number of really good ideas about how to promote the library and who they wanted to promote it to.  They were really keen to hear all of our ideas too.  I think the workshop went really well and I really feel that my small contribution will help the group to develop the library.

Georgia Carrington – Conservation Intern