Communicating, interacting and sharing positive results and challenges that need to be addressed with interested stakeholders is an important task that needs to be further developed by the National Administration for Protected Areas (NAPA) staff across Protected Areas (PA) in Albania, namely the Regional Administrations for Protected Areas (RAPA).
The first training of the Regional Administrations for Protected Areas Communication Officers (RAPA CO) took place on the 12th December, in Tirana. Mrs. Matilda Duri, a journalist and communication expert led the training, introducing the basic principles of communication to various audiences and media, and facilitating a practical workshop in presentation skills for the RAPA CO.
During two years successful implementation of the EU funded NaturAL Project the RAPA staff have gained experience in communicating the important values of their areas and also looking at solutions that can be proposed to combat the challenges facing the PAs. Within the project's capacity building programe the next important step is to increase their ability to communicate effectively with the aim to promote their work and the importance of conservation. With this in view each RAPA has appointed a Communication Officer (CO), an individual whose everyday tasks, as well as personality, correspond with the above aim.
In consultation with the RAPA CO the project has developed a series of eight daily trainings that will introduce topics such as basic communication principles, event organisation, managing volunteers, fundraising and other. Theory of these topics will then be put into practice during on-the-job trainings that the RAPA CO will undertake, with the support of the NaturAl project, for example: organisation of local events, managing the social media and communicating with the wider audience.
The RAPA CO is the main point of contact for internal and external communication for each RAPA. This includes communication within the respective RAPA, within the RAPA network, and with outside stakeholders, organisations and institutions, as well as with the wider public. In general the role of the RAPA CO is to communicate environmental issues, promoting conservation and sustainability, and enhancing the understanding of the value of each PA through raising awareness and increasing public knowledge about the natural world.
The importance, the values and the perspective of Protected Areas of Albania is part of a common heritage, which needs to be shared widely in order to gain the support and the collaboration of community living close to the areas and of the public in general. This requires daily efforts in spreading the message through activities and campaigns that make people realise the need to look after and protect the natural environment.
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