The work plan of the 10-year agreement signed between SERNANP and San Diego Zoo Global for the co-management of the Station does not explicitly state the need for investing in the themes of education, outreach, and capacity building. Nonetheless, conversations with Manu National Park and with local people in and around the Park have put these at a high priority.
Our role, as perceived by SERNANP and San Diego Zoo Global, is not only to conduct top notch scientific research but also to promote it and to connect the science to our constituency, building on this relationship by broadcasting the findings of our research. We would also like to have a more transparent relationship with Manu communities and other stakeholders, as well as increase public awareness of Cocha Cashu’s activities and the importance of its role in tropical ecology research, biodiversity conservation and management. Thus, Cocha Cashu’s Conservation Education, Capacity Building and Outreach Program (EDUCASHU) has the following vision as its mandate:
“EDUCASHU is an innovative model for research stations to engage and integrate with local people, the academic community, governmental institutions and the wider society.”
Having recognized the need to integrate Cocha Cashu better into the local and wider community, in March 2013 we launched a planning initiative to identify key actions to foster conservation education, capacity building and outreach.
We began by defining the possible range of problems leading to Cocha Cashu’s failure to integrate. Next, we phrased these as questions and identified possible solutions (alternatives). These were re-formulated to develop objectives which in turn were organized into fundamental objectives and sub or mean objectives. The final stage was to identify measurable attributes for each mean objective, followed by a list of actions, in order of priority, which will help us to achieve each mean objective. We also identified current and potential stakeholders of the program.