Coordinator of the International Wadden Sea School (IWSS), Anja Szczesinski, took part in the annual meeting of the Migratory Birds for People (MBP) network and a related capacity building workshop for communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) for visitor centres in West African countries along the flyway. The Migratory Birds for People (MBP) program connects wetland centres along the East Atlantic Flyway. In addition to individual centres in the Wadden Sea region such as Vadehavscentret in Denmark and Nationalpark-Haus Husum in Germany, the IWSS is a member of the MBP network and connects trilateral Wadden Sea education and World Heritage interpretation to CEPA activities along the flyway.
About 40 participants from 14 countries along the Flyway joined the meeting from 6 to 10 October in Ndangane, Saloum, Senegal and experienced a comprehensive program of workshop sessions, presentations, bird watching, and interactive activities. Among the workshop participants were also six early-career wetland conservationists who had previously taken part in the online East Atlantic Flyway Youth Forum. The meeting thus offered not only international and inter-disciplinary but also inter-generational learning and inspiration. A special highlight of the meeting was the World Migratory Bird Day celebration in the nearby village of Palmarin, where dozens of locals and school children came together to celebrate the local community’s engagement for birds along the flyway. The workshop group was invited to join the morning program and to share birdwatching experience with the children.
“The variety of CEPA activities along the Flyway presented at the workshop, the great engagement of the West African colleagues and the enthusiasm especially of the Youth Ambassadors were overwhelming”, says Szczesinski. “The workshop offered great opportunities to meet international colleagues, to exchange experience and ideas about wetland education and to establish relationships for future cooperation activities such as twinning programs between visitor centres.”
The meeting and workshop were supported by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative, Life IP Deltanatuur, the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Wetlands International Afrique, Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la zone Côtière et Marine en Afrique de l'Ouest, Regional Network of Marine Protected Areas in West Africa and BirdLife International East Atlantic Flyway Initiative.