As a result of the first International Green Fins workshop that took place in the first week of April 2014 in Bangkok there was a direct request from the Philippines to facilitate a Green Fins Assessor Training workshop in the province of Cebu later in the year. With support from DENR Region 7 and the Regional technical Director Al Orolfo, The Reef-World Foundation was invited to carry out this training in Mactan, an island just off the coast of Cebu City where their Regional office is located.
The workshop, carried out from the 10th to the 14th of November, was intended to provide six individuals with the skills and knowledge to support Green Fins within the region, a tourist hotspot in the popular Visayas region of the Philippines. These individuals were handpicked resulting in an excellent cross-section of departments and sectors. This included having representatives from the Local Government Unit from Lapu-Lapu City, the Task Force Kalikasan (part of the Philippines National Police focussing on Environmental Laws), Regional DENR staff and a representative from the private sector. The five day workshop included a couple of days in the classroom learning the background to the Green Fins initiative and learning about how to give training to the staff and guests of dive and snorkel centres on the importance of environmentally responsible techniques and approaches to adopt. Reef-World then provided training on how to carry out the Assessment of Green Fins members both in the shop and during a dive trip to monitor compliance to the Code of Conduct. After the classroom sessions, training took place on a local dive trip, designed to test buoyancy and observation skills.
Once the participations had undergone the initial training phase, it was time to put their skills into practice through carrying out the Green Fins dive centre training or IEC (Information Education and Communication campaign) as it became known to the staff and guests of some local Green Fins members and reactive their membership in the process.
The last day was one of the most important ones. This was not only the culmination of all their training resulting in them receiving their certificates of attendance and their Green Fins Assessor ID cards but also allowed the new core team to come up with a strategy and a future plan for the next steps of Green Fins in the region. The team are all very enthusiastic and see how Green Fins will support their current work and directive helping to alleviate pressures on the stressed marine and coastal resources in the region.
Well done to all who took part and looking forward to hearing about your successes in the future.