Learning for Sustainability (L4S)
CAMP Alatoo’s project activities are based on the principle of creating awareness among local communities on the target issues. To achieve this, CAMP Alatoo developed a unique Learning for Sustainability tool, which we commonly call the L4S training module. This is an effective tool not only for awareness building and institutional development, but also for promoting responsible natural resource use and management as a way of contributing to the sustainable development of local communities.
The original concept of the L4S module was developed by the Center for Development and Environment (CDE) with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It was tested in various regions of Africa and Asia and then further developed in Central Asia within the CAMP framework. CAMP Alatoo’s experience with L4S dates back to 2004, when the organisation was founded.
What is L4S?
L4S is a participatory learning tool—a simulation game, to be precise—that CAMP Alatoo offers in village communities. L4S allows participants to contribute their own knowledge and experience, motivating local stakeholders to participate more actively in a workshop.
Why use L4S?
The knowledge about a system involves the identification and consideration of interacting stakeholders whose collective action produces a particular development outcome. To work towards effective and sustainable development, all stakeholders and their particular influence in a system must be taken into consideration. In the context of many challenges that rural communities in Central Asia face, building the capacity of a single stakeholder is not enough—the focus needs to be on engaging all local-level stakeholders and understanding their interrelationships and the incentives that guide them.
With the L4S approach, a participant contributes his or her individual experience and vision for the future – the so called target knowledge – to form a general understanding of processes and problems that hamper sustainable natural resource management. This, in turn, creates a basis for shared understanding among different actors, generates ownership and commitment, and facilitates the joint development of sustainable solutions (transformation of knowledge). By creating an opportunity for active dialogue between diverse stakeholders in local communities, L4S workshops encourage and raise participants’ awareness of how to take part in decision making processes that directly affect them.
The 5 principles of L4S
- Learning in a local context: L4S workshops take place in the villages and include the presence of local specialists and consultants. Feeling at home helps invigorate participants’ individual reflection. In using local specialists, workshops are enriched by locally-produced data, maps, consulting, and fact checking.
- Learning in groups: the learning process is based on the experience, knowledge and perspectives of the different participants. In order to achieve a deeper understanding of the system, CAMP Alatoo consistently aims to form mixed groups of participants.
- Multi-stakeholder involvement: to achieve sustainable outcomes, as many stakeholders as possible from all administrative levels are included. This ensures that everyone can not only contribute their knowledge, but also communicate their demands and their limits.
- Systemic approach: L4S promotes the assessment of the systemic links that concern the target problem in order to guarantee a deeper understanding and sustainability of developed solutions.
- Methodological diversity: different people have different preferences when it comes to learning and working methods. L4S maximizes the learning and sharing potential of every individual.
How does L4S work?
The outline of L4S
CAMP Alatoo’s L4S modules consist of introductory theoretical input and group work sessions.
CAMP Alatoo first provides scientific background knowledge on the topic at hand, which facilitates the development of sustainable solutions during the simulation game.
An important tool that is part of every L4S is the board games. The board games simulate the challenges that local communities face, and they offer a creative and exciting way to encourage participants to think about collaborative and alternative ways to solve their problems. The games are used as an introduction to the group work sessions.
Group, plenary, and field work sessions
Group, plenary, and field work sessions are central components of the workshop. In this stage participants assess their particular problems, develop tailored solution strategies, and start planning how to turn their solution strategies into action.
The implementation of L4S
L4S workshops last 3-5 days. The venue is located in the villages and workshops are coordinated together with local stakeholders and local specialists. In this way, CAMP Alatoo ensures the community is ready to dedicate itself to the workshop proceedings. Trained moderators from CAMP Alatoo facilitate the workshops, incorporate new knowledge and skills, and ensure the active engagement of all participants.
Types of L4S training modules developed and used by CAMP Alatoo:
- Sustainable Pasture Management
- Management of Water Resources on Watershed Level
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Disaster Risk Management
- Energy Efficiency
- Soil and Water Conservation
- Conflict Management Over Natural Resources
- Pasture and Forest Management