Description and Evaluation of an Environmental Education Program in Madagascar
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The Duke Lemur Center (DLC) is a founding member of the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG), a consortium of zoos and botanical gardens that promotes biodiversity conservation in Madagascar. The MFG’s in-country programs include an environmental education component with a cascade training program that targets upper level regional staff (Chef ZAPs). This program trains the Chef ZAPs in the hopes that they will disseminate information on ecology and environmental issues to teachers and who in turn will pass the information on to their students. Although the program has been in place for more than 20 years, no formal description or evaluation had previously been undertaken. The DLC is in the process of implementing the MFG’s model in a fledgling training program in another region of Madagascar. Our research seeks to provide recommendations to the DLC’s new program by evaluating the MFG’s existing environmental education platform. A review of literature regarding accepted practices in environmental education and evaluation was compiled to inform the evaluation. Using a mixed-methods approach, interviews with key informants, participant surveys, and material culture were analyzed. Five interviews were conducted with MFG and DLC staff members. Surveys were designed to garner the opinion of Malagasy participants and were juxtaposed with the statements made by interviewees. Qualitative analyses of interviews and surveys were conducted using Nvivo 9 software, and additional quantitative analysis of Likert Scale responses was completed using Stata 12 statistical software. This analysis informed the final recommendations made to our client, the Duke Lemur Center. Our recommendations range from small to large changes, and focus on shifts in organizational and programmatic structure that are important to consider for the expansion of the program within the SAVA region. The recommendations fall into two categories: administrative and field. These recommendations will allow the DLC to build upon the successes seen in the current Chef ZAP training program, such as the tremendous level of enthusiasm and positivity Chef ZAPs associate with the trainings. In this evaluation, we identify challenges which we found to pose a hindrance to the evolution and future success of the environmental education program; and we suggest recommendations to the DLC to address these challenges and ensure that the future environmental education programs in Madagascar can contribute to long-term social and environmental change.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Duke Lemur Center
Madagascar Fauna Group
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