Marine litter training of facilitators: raising awareness, driving behavior change in cities and communities

To ensure sustainability and replication in raising awareness on marine litter and actions to address their impacts on the environment and communities, UN-Habitat through the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI) organized in June and July 2030 a series of marine litter learning facilitators’ training for educators, learners, and other waste management actors.

Guided by the Marine Litter Learning Kit (MLLK), the training series equipped participants with the knowledge and facilitation skills to run marine litter learning activities in their own networks with the goal to empower learners on marine litter-reduction actions in their homes and communities. The trainings included implementation of MLLK activities, hands-on facilitation of participants with coaching and mentoring from the organizers, and action planning.

The training series was supported by Save Philippines Seas, the cities of Legazpi and Manila, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) through their Environmental Education and Information Division. Prior to this, the cities of Ormoc and Cagayan de Oro pioneered self-administered MLLK training events in 2022, with Department of Education Schools Division Office (SDO) of Ormoc integrating MLLK modules in the local curriculum.

MLLK Facilitators’ Training in Manila

MLLK is a tool developed by UN-Habitat Philippines in partnership with Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and SPS, through HOCCI.

Learning for all types of learners

The series engaged a wide range of participants – from 8 to 75 years old; from barangay workers to DepEd officials, from formal educators to youth leaders- demonstrating the flexibility of the tool, catering to different types of learners and facilitators.

The trainings were held on June 9-10 in Legazpi City for teachers and advisers from Youth for Environment in Schools-Organization (Yes-O), students, and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders; July 11-13 in La Union which engaged YES-O advisers, and representatives from the Region 1 EMB, LGU of Calapan City, La Union’s SDO; and July 25-26 which engaged two community groups supported by HOCCI, officials of  Barangay 412 and 830, Department of Public Service, and Manila SDO.

Through the training, participants gained not just knowledge and skills but also the confidence to subsequently roll out marine litter learning activities to help drive behavior change in their own schools and communities.

“Overall, it was a very worthy program that must be transferred to schools and communities, to establish significant positive actions to beat marine litter

“All the activities were useful and very educational especially in our association which operates a community junkshop.”

“This activity gave us the opportunity to develop our skills in facilitating events as public servants.”

“This training gave me a new perspective on marine life conservation.”

Feedback from training participants
MLLK Facilitators’ Training in La Union, supported by DENR EMB EEID

Beyond the training: rollout and mainstreaming

As a direct result of the training, two MLLK activities have already been carried out.

On July 29, the Legazpi City Barangay 59 Puro SK organized a re-echoing of the marine litter learning activities as part of their “SK Puro 1K Trees Project”, which aimed to raise awareness on environmental protection, particularly in coastal communities. Calapan City SK, on the other hand, organized the Marine Litter Learning Activities and Coastal Clean Up on August 13.

Reecho of MLLK facilitators’ training by SK Legazpi

Prior to the training series, Cagayan de Oro City has also made efforts in equipping educators in facilitating marine litter learning activities. On June 24, the city engaged 95 primary and secondary teachers from DepEd Cagayan de Oro, ten  from DepEd Region X main office and 25 City Local Environment and Natural Resources barangay coordinators in a marine litter learning facilitators’ training.

MLLK facilitators’ training in Cagayan de Oro City

Meanwhile, Ormoc City has taken a more institutionalized approach in mainstreaming marine litter learning. Led by the Ormoc City SDO, the city has successfully integrated MLLK activities in the grade school and high school curriculum. Building on the results and feedback from the pilot testing with select schools, a technical working group from the SDO have matched the MLLK activities with the corresponding grade level learning objectives, competencies, and performance standards.

As of writing, Ormoc City have already developed the lesson plans for roll out across all public grade school and high school in the coming academic year.

Culminating activity of the MLLK rollout in Ormoc

Cover photo by Save Philippine Seas

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