Interim Report to the International Elephant Foundation:
Kouprey Express: Asian Elephant Education and Public Outreach
February 2010-December 2010
Children from the Kaoh Kapi Primary School participating in our educational curriculum. The teacher (not seen) is using the Khmer flipchart with modules on habitat, watersheds, livelihoods, and other topics.
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With the assistance of the International Elephant Foundation, Wildlife Alliance’s Kouprey Express mobile environmental education project has built on its continued focus on the conservation of wild elephant populations in the Southern Cardamom Mountains, targeting rural schoolchildren and communities with environmental education campaigns.
The Kouprey Express strategy for 2008-2010 was to improve the understanding of elephant conservation for rural children in Koh Kong, in part through a series of schoolbased field trips to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where children could gain first-hand experience with rescued Asian elephants. In 2010 the Kouprey Express also implemented a refined and slightly modified version of the previous year’s curriculum and strategic plan, focusing on a more sustainable education program that included: improved educational materials and additional modules, capacity building for project
staff and teachers to give the team the skills to train teachers to maximize the effectiveness, build lasting institutional capacity, and sustainability of our environmental education curriculum
During 2010 the Kouprey Express spent a total of 153 days in Koh Kong Province focusing on 23 target schools and communities. Six curriculum modules were delivered and taught at the 23 schools, reaching 85 classes, 2737 students from grades 4 to 6 and 175 teachers. Other activities were 38 Community Night Shows with an average attendance of 400 community members and 9 field excursions with a total of 500 students, 50 teachers and 50 community members to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Additionally, 1,308 Grade 1-3 students participated in our art-based environmental curriculum, tree planting and other activity-based environmental educational activities such as theater, dance, and games.
Student at Chi Phat primary school learning about elephants through themed educational games and curricula.
A substantial portion of the IEF granting was allotted for educational signage at Phnom Tamao that would be posted alongside the elephant enclosures. As described below, we have succeeded in generating prospective corporate support that would cover the entire signage requirements of Phnom Tamao, and we will be requesting IEF’s permission to reallocate a portion of these funds to support other vital educational programs focused on Asian elephant conservation.
We are grateful for the continued support of the International Elephant Foundation. This interim progress report and attachments will serve as as an invoice for the second tranche of $5000, completing the generous IEF grant of $10,000.
In 2010 Wildlife Alliance successfully applied for a $10,000 grant from the International Elephant Foundation to implement elephant-oriented educational signage and information at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) and facilitate student field trips to the rescue center as part of the Kouprey Express 2008-2010 strategic plan for environmental education in the Cardamoms Mountains rainforest. In addition to the International Elephant Foundation’s generous contribution, the Kouprey Express project received funding totaling more than $150,000 in the 2009-2010 period from Free the Bears Fund, International Elephant Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Great Ape Conservation Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Zoos Victoria, AusAID’s Volunteering for International Development from Australian (VIDA) program, AusAID’s Direct Aid Program through their embassy in Cambodia, and a variety of individual donors. This represents a substantial increase in funding over the previous year, which has enabled us to implement a refined and slightly modified version on of the previous year’s curriculum and strategic plan, focusing on an educational program design that would be more sustainable and cost-effective.
These modifications have delivered a more cost-effective and thorough environmental education curriculum, improved dissemination of this material, and now incorporate a more systematic train-the-trainer approach for teachers in all target schools.
With the modification of the core project curriculum delivery platform in partnership with the environmental education NGO Live & Learn Cambodia, Wildlife Alliance has increased its objective to reaching more than 20 primary schools per year, with an overall aim of 70 schools within the next three years, allowing Wildlife Alliance to reach 91% of the primary schools in Koh Kong Province between 2007 and 2013. This objective is on track with the Kouprey Express team successfully delivering our teacher-training program and educational curriculum, support materials, field trips, and on-site, iterative educational curricula to 23 schools in 2010. A higher number of schools would have been achieved; however, staff turnover resulted in some delays.
Kouprey Express Project Objectives and Activities:
Since 2008, the Kouprey Express has focused on students, teachers, and communities in Koh Kong Province providing them with environmental education curricula and a suite of integrated environmental activities. The aim of our 2010-2013 strategic plan is to maximize the long term impact and deepen our efforts in Koh Kong schools through:
- Delivery of our integrated, action-based environmental education program based on the vision “Love Cambodia, Love Nature” that will be explored through seven themes: habitat protection, wildlife protection, pollution prevention, sustainable livelihoods, water quality, waste and sanitation, and energy use, climate change, and adaptation to 70 primary schools in Koh Kong Province.
- Training of 527 teachers in 70 primary schools in Koh Kong Province to teach the environmental education curriculum and deliver our education program to 21,000 students aged 6-14 in their schools during 2010 – 2013.
- Promotion of a conservation ethic in Cambodia by delivering a comprehensive and self-sustaining environmental education curriculum, raising awareness in Koh Kong communities through environmentally-themed Community Night Shows, and provided monthly fieldtrips to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to children who will influence the future management of Cambodia’s natural resources.
- Development of long-term institutional capacity within the Cambodian education sector by delivering our targeted teacher training program, supporting material, yearlong teacher support, follow-up training and mentoring, and acting on teacher feedback.
In 2010 Wildlife Alliance collaborated with L&L to train the Kouprey Express team as “trainers of the trainer” giving the team the skills to train teachers to maximize the effectiveness and sustainability of our environmental education curriculum. This allows the KE team to train teachers in the provided curriculum and provide ongoing support and mentoring at each of our target schools throughout each year, rather than the KE staff teaching the students themselves, this has developed a more perpetual education curriculum.
In addition, our newly implemented teacher-training program has also been deemed a success and has proven to be a more cost affective delivery platform, delivering increased and lasting institutional capacity within the Cambodian education sector. To date, 175 teachers have completed our teacher-training program through L&L, resulting in increased understanding of environmental issues. Due to the new program’s cost effectiveness, all teachers at all schools are able to participate. In previous years, only teachers of Grades 4 – 6 were trained in content delivery.
In order to build on past achievements of the Kouprey Express and further motivate the interest of school children in protecting wildlife, the Kouprey Express team conducts monthly field trips to PTWRC, where students come fact-to-face with the wildlife they are learning to protect. Field trips involve a tour of the rescue facility, introduction to many of the animals living at the center, a customized curriculum meant to build on firsthand encounters with the center’s animals, and wildlife-themed games and activities.
Chhouk, Lucky, and team of mahouts and wildlife rescue staff
While PTWRC field trips involve a tour of the entire facility and learning about many animals, 80% of the curriculum is geared toward elephant education. This newer approach involving field trips to the rescue center is an extremely effective tool in highlighting the threats to wildlife and helping raise awareness at home and in the communities. Children and their teachers meet members of the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, Wildlife Alliance’s mobile wildlife law enforcement unit that has rescued many of the 1,200 animals now at PTWRC, whether for rehabilitation and release back into the wild or for lifelong care. In meeting Chhouk, students see firsthand the devastation a simple snare on the forest floor can cause to a young elephant like Chhouk. They also learn about Lucky, Aram, and other Asian elephants that Wildlife Alliance rescued.
The Kouprey Express project experienced minor delays in early 2010 following the unexpected resignation of two members (or 50%) of the Kouprey Express education team. This resulted in a two-month delay in activities while new staff were recruited and trained in the project. However, the Kouprey Express project carried out the majority of the deliverables of the program and accomplished educational delivery at 23 of the 30 intended schools per the workplan, despite slight delays due to staff changes. In 2010, the KE delivered its program to the following schools:
- Somdac Cheasym
- Kaoh Sralau
- Kaoh Kapi
- Andong Teuk
- Sovanna Baitong
- Chi Phat
- Sre Ambel
- Ta Thaong
Schoolgirls at rural Koh Kong school play elephant habitat games
During 2010 the KE spent a total of 153 days in Koh Kong Province focusing on 23 target schools and communities. Six curriculum modules were delivered and taught at the 23 schools, reaching 85 classes, 2737 students from grades 4 to 6 and 175 teachers. Other activities were 38 Community Night Shows with an average attendance of 400 community members and 9 field excursions with a total of 500 students, 50 teachers and 50 community members to PTWRC. Additionally, 1,308 Grade 1-3 students participated in our art-based environmental curriculum, tree planting, and other direct action environmental educational activities such as theater, dance, and games.
Thanks to IEF’s generous grant to implement elephant-oriented educational signage and information at PTWRC and facilitate student field trips to the rescue center, Wildlife Alliance’s Kouprey Express Mobile Environmental Education Project thus far has conducted nine field trips to PTWRC for 90 students and their chaperones in 2010. Two of these field trips, in October and November 2010, were supported specifically by IEF funding.
Wildlife Alliance also requested funding for large animal information signage at PTWRC, but in 2010, a local telecommunications company expressed interest in developing new educational signage for all species of wildlife at the center. Because of this exciting new opportunity, the majority of the IEF funds remain unspent. As described above, we will be requesting permission to partially reallocate these unspent balances to other elephant education and outreach needs within the Kouprey Express program.
For instance, Wildlife Alliance is pleased to report a new elephant resident at the rescue center, who has a very exciting rescue story. As we have reported to you, in December 2010, Sambo, a male domesticated elephant estimated to be around 50 years of age, escaped from captivity after years of abusive treatment, and was terrorizing villages in Kompong Speu Province, having killed two people, including his keeper. Without intervention by skilled elephant handlers, he would likely have been killed in an attempt to stop him from raiding rice fields, and might have killed other villagers in the process.
Wildlife Alliance, at the request of and in partnership with the Cambodian Forestry Administration and the Elephants Livelihood Initiative Environment, rescued Sambo on Christmas Day and brought him to PTWRC, where he is living happily in his own enclosure with limited human interaction, nearby our five other elephants with whom he is making friends. Wildlife Alliance reinforced an existing enclosure and pushed back the visitor wall, as Sambo is still aggressive and poses a risk to those who get too close to the enclosure. With IEF funding Wildlife Alliance developed ten signs around Sambo’s enclosure to warn visitors of Sambo’s difficult past and remind them to stay back.
Sambo in new enclosure at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rapid Rescue Center
Achievements in 2010:
- Integrated our new cost-effective and relevant environmental education curriculum and community awareness programs that support our overall organizational goal to deliver Direct Protection to Forests and Wildlife to 23 schools and communities.
- Promoted the protection of Asian Elephants and all other endemic threatened species by delivering an education curriculum that focuses on identifying and responding to the main threats facing these species and habitat destruction.
- Promoted an elephant conservation ethic in Cambodia by delivering a comprehensive and self-sustaining environmental education curriculum to children who will influence the future management of Cambodia’s natural resources.
- Built capacity within the KE team by delivering train-the-trainer training, provided by Live & Learn Environmental Education, in-house environmental awareness training, first aid training provided by Red Cross Cambodia resulting in four Senior First Aid and CPR certificates.
- Continued our monthly field excursions to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center Sambo in new enclosure at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rapid Rescue Center for students from Koh Kong can see firsthand the elephants and other wildlife they are learning to protect and participate in fun activities designed to promote a conservation ethic and positively reinforce the content of our curriculum modules.
- Conducted a safe capture strategy for Sambo, an elephant with a history of violence who was likely to be killed by villagers, and safely transported him to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Developed signage for Sambo’s enclosure.
In 2010, funds expended from the International Elephant Foundation program grant budget included two field trips to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, October 29-31, 2010 and November 29-December 1, 2010, for 90 students from Koh Kong Province. Ten signs warning visitors to stay back from the reinforced enclosure for Sambo, our newest elephant addition at the rescue center, were also purchased in December 2010.
Due to minor delays in 2010 in program implementation, expenditures for the Kouprey Express are behind schedule. We have completed two of the three funded field trips from Koh Kong to Phnom Tamao, with the final trip scheduled for 2011. We have not yet designed or implemented the survey of educational impacts of visits at Phnom Tamao, but that is scheduled for 2011. The corporate commitment to fund new educational signs at Phnom Tamao has also created an opportunity to reallocate funds to other pressing educational needs within the Kouprey Express.
Therefore Wildlife Alliance would like to kindly request a reallocation of the remaining signage funds balance of $2,230 to unrestricted Kouprey Express operations expenses. The table on the following page details expenditures to date per category and a financial status as of December 31, 2010.
The International Elephant Foundation is a valued partner in our work to educate Cambodians about the value of conserving wild elephants, through both in-situ education campaigns through the Kouprey Express and ex-situ educational outreach at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. We gratefully appreciate your continued support and look forward to reporting to you on the impacts of IEF funding in the second half of the granting period.