Animal welfare education: life after FCAW in the Amazon

In Latin America World Animal Protection’s youth education programme First Concepts in Animal Welfare (FCAW) has focused on supporting our key programmatic areas through formal education, since 2015. After a revision in our strategy, we decided to target this important audience differently.

School children continue to be part of our work, and one example of this is in our ‘Boto’ or pink dolphin campaign.  Those students who had previously participated in our education programme were invited to learn and become agents of change to stop the cruel killing of dolphins to be used as bait in the Amazon region.  The fishing communities including families and teachers have all come together to become champions of our cause to protect these amazing creatures.

The Amazon is a vast region which makes it very difficult the enforcement of legislation.  It is a complex fabric of cultures, traditional practices and languages, all merged in one of the richest ecosystems of the planet.  A place which has been facing the exploitation of its fauna, flora, and minerals, for the last five centuries.  This context discourages us from simply providing a set of external solutions for the protection of animals.  It demands that the solutions have to be bred within the communities, focusing on the power of education, the fundamental social value of teachers, and the promise of a better future which children embody. We are delivering workshops for teachers, school-centred community education projects, posters, digital games, and distributing an education booklet about animal welfare and the protection of the pink dolphin.

Creating change in the Amazons

Now we are witnessing more school districts showing interest in having their teachers trained in animal welfare education. As a result of the first education pilot Project in Porto Braga, World Animal Protection has signed two agreements with Municipal Education secretariats, which will benefit 1,500 students from Uarini Municipality and 5,000 students from Fonte Boa municipality. Many more want to gain understanding of the particular threats to the botos, within the very complex set of challenges the Amazon basin is facing. 

Children, parents, teachers or professors, community leaders, businessmen and government authorities are all engaged through our education work. Education is much more than just an academic discipline or a profession.  We see it as an empowering force, and from World Animal Protection we are harnessing it for the purpose of nurturing and realizing better animal welfare, and stopping cruelty against animals.