Sue Lennox, Oz GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network – Australia Inc)
Oz GREEN is an NGO dedicated to promoting informed community participation in water catchment protection and the development of ecologically sustainable ways of living.
Oz GREEN programs enable local communities, schools, businesses and government to work together to protect and restore the environment. Our programs aim to deal with problems at their source. Since our beginnings in 1992, Oz GREEN has worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of businesses throughout the Sydney and Brisbane region. We also have programs in India, Papua New Guinea and a new program getting underway in East Timor.
In Oecussi Oz GREEN will be working with the local civil service and local NGO FFSO, with support from ETTA Forestry Unity and EPU. We will be conducting a 2 week training program in March on community based water quality monitoring, environmental assessment and action planning. The training will be cross-sectoral – with staff from water, agriculture, forestry, health and education working together. We will be working with villages and schools in the Oecussi district with local NGO FFSO – building their capacity to manage the project. National NGO Haburas have also been invited to participate in the training program. The program is based on participatory learning and action approaches. Once the program is well established, later in the year we will bring people together to develop an Oecussi Environmental Action Plan.
We chose to work in Oecussi first because it has been the worst impacted in the post referendum period and due to isolation has not got so many programs running there.
IN Oecussi we will also be establishing a demonstration community garden project – giving a practical model of kitchen eco-gardening.
Oz GREEN developed the VEAP program for the World Bank funded Swajal Project in Uttar Pradesh India. The project involves local NGOs working with villages in their area, and is now being successfully implemented in over 1,000 villages. There were many critical water resource problems including a rapidly dropping water table and high incidence of water borne disease. The VEAP enables villagers to actively participate in the whole process – from the collection of baseline data, through to the development and implementation of the VEAP. The power of decision making is with local people.
The VEAP is a long-term plan for improving the village environment to mitigate against environmental issues such as water source depletion and contamination, health and hygiene problems, fodder and fuelwood depletion and solid waste management.
Each village develops a village environmental action plan that will enable the community to manage the local environment and promote ecological sustainabilty through developing and implementing strategies to:
1. Protect and restore village water supply catchments
2. Reduce environmental impacts on village health
3. Promote sustainable management of fuelwood and fodder supplies
4. Manage solid waste
· Discuss project with villagers and if interested
- Identify key participants for VEAP
- Organise village meetings
VILLAGE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
· Define village water supply catchment area
· Village catchment walk
· Complete detailed village map
· Complete village environmental assessment
DEVELOP VILLAGE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION PLAN
· Interviews and stories – village timeline
· Identify major issues impacting on village environment
· Identify causes of these issues
· Decide on village priorities
· Villagers develop a vision for the future
· Develop strategies
· Develop actions
· Decide responsibilities
MONITOR AND EVALUATE VEAP
· Ongoing monitoring of village environment
· Modify VEAP as needed