Final Workshop to Strengthen Competency Framework and Curriculum on Human-Wildlife Conflict in West Bengal

30 Nov, 2018

The Indo-German Project “Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation (HWC)” in India organised its 4th successful workshop for further development of the competency framework and curriculum on 29th and 30th November 2018. The workshop took place at Hotel Sinclairs Retreat Doors, Chalsa, West Bengal. The aim of the workshop was to further refine the curriculum framework and draft modules developed at the third workshop at Kodagu on 26th and 27th November 2018. The event saw active participation of 33 international and national experts representing wildlife, veterinary, media and communications, private sector, social sciences as well as officials from the state forest department.

Sh. S. Sundriyal, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Wildlife, West Bengal, Sh. Ujjal Ghosh, CCF, Wildlife, North Bengal, Sh P C Tyagi, and Sh S K Khanduri delivered the welcome addresses. They underlined the changing human-wildlife conflict situations in West Bengal due to change in land use. They appreciated the capacity development approach of GIZ to build upon the curriculum with inputs from all relevant stakeholders. Dr. Neeraj Khera, Team Leader of the HWC Project (GIZ), gave an introduction of the HWC project. She shared the project approach that was used to develop the curriculum along with the draft of the competency framework. The workshop used participatory techniques, like the knowledge café method, to facilitate discussion and dialogue amongst the stakeholders. Each knowledge café represented the following groups ¬– Forest, Civil Society, Public and Private Sectors and Media. The participants actively worked on different curriculum modules and the groups presented their findings in the plenary. The participants also had interactions and crucial inputs from the field-level officers and Rapid Response teams of the Gorumara Forest Division during the knowledge café sessions and the field visit.

The highlight of the workshop was the successful identification of experiences and success stories on human-wildlife conflict mitigation. These held potential to serve as case studies in the training materials. These included management of barriers (with the help of Joint Forest Management Committees), use of Airawat, and effective coordination between forest and railways. The concluding reflection session saw the participants sharing their insights about the curriculum being developed, the learnings and the take-away messages from the two-day workshop in West Bengal.

The participants included Dr. P. C. Tyagi, Ms. Upma Manral, and Ms. Lallanpuii Kawlni from Wildlife Institute of India, Mr. Sanjit Kumar Saha (ADFO, State Forest Training Institute, Hijli), Mr. R. A. Sharma (Secretary, Tea Association of India, North Bengal), Mr. Sudhir Chandra Das (CCF, Hill Circle), Mr. Subhankar Sengupta (CCF and FD, Buxa Tiger Reserve), Mr. Kalyan Rai (DFO, Buxa Tiger Reserve), Ms. Nisha Goswami (DFO, Gorumara Wildlife Division), Mr. Sandeep K Berwal (DFO, Kurseong), Mr. Badal Debnath (DFO, Gorumara Wildlife Division), Mr. Mridul Jaiswal (DFO, Jalpaiguri), Mr. Kumar Vimal (DFO, Jaldapara), Mr. Jayanta Mondal (AWLW, Darjeeling), Ms. Angela Bhutra (DFO, West Bengal), Mr. Dinesh and Mr. Rahuldev Mukherjee (West Bengal Forest Department), Mr. Samir Sikdar, Mr. Ayaan Chakraborty, Mr. Pallab Mukherjee, Suwra Shankha Dutta and Sarad Marri Chettri (Forest Rangers from the West Bengal Forest Department), Mr. Ananda Banerjee and Ms. Sharada Subramaniam (Media Experts); Mr. Krishnendu Bose and Mr. Dharma Singh, Film-makers from Earth care.

Mr. Sanatan, Director of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (Uttarakhand) also participated in the workshop as part of the inter-state knowledge-exchange element which is supported by the HWC Project. Other participants included Dr. Michael Fisher (International capacity development expert, DFS, Germany), Dr Floris Deodatus (International wildlife expert, DFS Germany), Sh. Ajay Desai (National wildlife expert, DFS), Mr Vimarsh Sharma (Junior Technical Expert, GIZ) and Ms. Priya Poonia (GIZ).

The documents developed in the workshop serve as working documents and will be further refined by a core team of writers and editors. They will be used for pilot testing during the December 2018 to July 2019 period at the partner training institutions.