[02 June 2016] Recognizing the significant role of communities in environmental protection and conservation, PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications (Smart) and the World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines (WWF-Philippines) recently held another Project Connect session in Barangay Fishing Village, Malita, Davao del Sur.
Children participants joined the coloring session that made them write down a promise for the environment.
Launched in 2010, Project Connect involves a series of workshops held nationwide to promote greener lifestyle among communities. “Apart from helping increase environmental awareness, the project aims to urge communities to take action and do their part as stewards of the environment,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.
Being a coastal area adjacent to the expansive Davao Gulf where 70 percent of the population are working fishermen, the learning session in Barangay Fishing Village mainly covered marine life and conservation topics. Children were taught to identify endangered marine animals while adults and barangay workers were equipped with marine rescue response skills.
Monitor and report stranded marine animals
During the learning session, Ruel Bate, unit head of environmental education of WWF, shared important guidelines on marine rescue and response, should endangered animals wind up stranded in shores.
“It is important for people to identify endangered marine life and to know what to do when these are in distress in shores,” Bate said.
He added that by immediately notifying marine experts, the community can keep people away from potential danger, while at the same time protect endangered marine animals which are vulnerable to intentional catching to be prepared as exotic dishes, or be turned to home decorations and accessories.
Reporting of stranded animals can also contribute to WWF’s growing data of endangered animals.
Bate added that it is important for kids to be educated, too.
“Teaching them the values of respecting the environment at a young age goes a long way,” he said. “This gives them a deep understanding of the livelihood that keeps the community sustained.”
The kids, after being taught how to protect marine animals, took part in a coloring session that made them write down a promise for the environment.
Robert Aldous, a 13-year-old resident of the barangay was delighted in the learning session. “I promise to throw waste properly so that these will not be eaten by the dolphins,” Aldous said.
Kids were also given animal plush toys to remind themselves to love the inhabitants of the sea and to protect them.
To further reinforce environmental responsibility, learning materials (posters and workbooks), which includes informative coloring books especially published by Smart and WWF for children, were also turned over to the barangay.
Apart from Project Connect, WWF also partnered with Smart to develop an SMS-based platform, Text-to-Donate, which allows Smart and TNT subscribers to be part of the fundraising efforts of WWF for the environment, especially the Davao Gulf.