The morning began with the ambassador’s visit to one of our groups who are based in La Marta National Park where they were holding a community action day. Action days are held in each of the communities where our natural resource management (NRM) and environmental projects are taking place. Volunteers work with local communities surrounding the Costa Rica’s national parks to raise awareness about the importance of responsible consumption and protecting the environment. By involving children from local schools and working with them to show how protecting the environment can help protect their favourite animals it is hoped volunteers will be able to inspire behaviour changes and help create a future generation of environmentally conscious young people in Costa Rica.
After heading back to Turrialba to meet with the McCann WorldGroup UK volunteers and their Raleigh national society counterparts, the ambassador was shown the current progress of the alumni campaigns.
The Nicaraguan society gave an overview of their planned campaign to clean up the Mercado Oriental in Managua, one of the largest markets in the Americas. The market is currently littered with rubbish, particularly plastic bags that have been discarded by visitors to the market instead of putting them in a bin to be recycled. The campaign aims to appeal to Nicaraguans’ pride in their country and have them take a more active role in keeping their market clean, including by having more bins around and encouraging people to use them.
Costa Rican alumni aim to campaign to turn Turrialba into the first plastic bag free city in Costa Rica. While the Costa Rican government is aiming to eliminate all single use plastics, the country itself has been slow to work towards this, with millions of plastic bags being used a year in Turrialba alone. This campaign aims to reduce these numbers by providing people with an alternative to plastic bags, and by encouraging business throughout Turrialba to use reusable bags and give customers an incentive to use them. The current plan to achieve this is either to encourage businesses to offer discounts for people using reusable bags or by making reusable bags cheaper in the long run.
After the presentations were given the ambassador stated that he was incredibly impressed by the work that the national society members had done with the support of McCann WorldGroup UK volunteers. McCann WorldGroup UK volunteers were also impressed with the work and campaigns of the young Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans:
“The [Raleigh National Society] volunteers’ impressed me from day one with their motivation and commitment. Throughout the programme they have been hungry to learn, engaged and participated with gusto. This attitude has led to incredible progress.” – Laura Buckley, McCann WorldGroup UK Account Director.
“Absolutely outstanding, 10 days of relentless learning and clear daily indications they were listening, digesting and applying the new skills and knowledge to their respective campaigns. I’m not sure some industry professionals back in London would have been as attentive and so constantly engaged as the national society members were.” – Duncan Groves, Senior Producer at Craft, McCann WorldGroup UK .
We are looking forward to seeing the final campaigns and what effect they will have upon the people of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Written by Ross A. Photos by Michelle J.