On October 19, 2002 the Phoenix Fund successfully completed the first stage of the professional experiences exchange between the environmental NGOs of Russia and Thailand. The project was supported under the East-East programme of the Open Society Institute (Soros Foudnation, Russia). Environmental NGOs of Primorye: Phoenix Fund, Russian Nature Conservation Society, and “Spring Flower”, had developed the project with the goal to strengthen co-operation and share knowledge with WildAid, Phoenix partner NGO in Thailand, and increase professional level of the Phoenix staff and their colleagues in organizing public events.
Seven specialists of Primorsky environmental NGOs took an active part in all activities of the hard-driving programme of the visit, which comprised ecological seminars, trainings, slide presentations, visits to Khao Yai National Park and children education camp, anti-poaching raid with Thai rangers, and many other events. But a seven-hour patrol through the gross tropical vegetation of the Park appeared to be a challenge for the Russian team. In spite of the 30-degree heat, 95 percent humidity, and abundance of leeches the Russian team showed persistence, stood the proof, and deserved sincere respect of the Thai colleagues. The Russian and Thai specialists also conducted a joint public event called “Save wildlife biodiversity for the future generations”.
Through intensive trainings in Thailand the Russian specialists gained experience and knowledge necessary for organizing ecological campaigns. They also acquired new skills on how to raise public awareness on the environmental problems. The knowledge and skills gained during the visit will help increase professionalism and scale of the public campaigns and events in Primorye. The information distributed among the regional NGOs will help, in turn, strengthen the influence of public opinion on solving environmental problems and endorse society-oriented activities in the region.
Based on the experience gained in Thailand, the Phoenix Fund developed a brochure with practical suggestions on efficient proposals writing and public campaigning with examples from ACAP (Asian Conservation Awareness Plan) developed by WildAid. Phoenix distributes the brochure among the environmental NGOs of Primorye and plans to place the information from the brochure on the Phoenix web-site fundphoenix.org in Russian.
The project participants, environmental NGOs of Primorye and Thailand, will continue close co-operation and experience exchange in order to solve international ecological problems and plan to submit a second stage project proposal “WildAid visit to Phoenix Fund in Vladivostok” in order to conduct joint public ecological festivals in Primorye.