During the month of September 2012, a summer camp was organised for Imraguen children by the International Foundation of the Banc d’Arguin (FIBA) in partnership with the National Park of Banc d’Arguin (PNBA), Photographers for the Planet (PPP) and the Association of Friends of the Banc d’Arguin (AABA) supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Ecofund.
The summer camp took place in the National Park Banc d'Arguin (the PNBA) in Iwik village where 10 children (girls and boys) from 4 different villages (Iwik, Mamghar, Rgueiba and Teichott) were chosen to participate. This initiative was a follow-up of the awareness program on the environment "Discovering the landscapes of the PNBA" in the Turing project. This program took place during the 2011-2012 academic school year in the four schools in the PNBA covering the villages of Iwik, Mamghar, Rgueiba and Teichott. About 100 children benefitted from this program where several themes were taught (fauna and flora, human activities and the environment etc.) with the aim of getting the children to appreciate the natural and cultural richness of their heritage.
It was the first of its kind in the PNBA and provided the occasion for the children to, concretely, practise the activities that they undertook during the PNBA landscapes discovery program. Even better, it was also the occasion for introducing photojournalism training. This training was facilitated by Jean François Hellio. It was, firstly, to help Imraguen children discover the richness of their landscapes through photography, and then, secondly, to produce young photojournalism champions involved in conserving the natural and cultural heritage of the PNBA.
During 10 days, the children learnt how to use a camera and how to take pictures as well as how to write corresponding captions for the pictures. Each child also received a pair of binoculars for bird-observation activities.
In addition to the photojournalism training and bird-observation activities, the children participated in various enriching activities such as waste collection and disposal, outings to the sea to discover line fishing and a visit to the Island of Nair to learn about the issue of climatic changes.
The benefits of this summer camp can be evaluated at different levels: human, informative and environmental.
From a human angle, 10 children living in the PNBA who come from different villages met for the first time, mingled and created friendship ties. On the informative level, the children acquired some useful tools that they could later develop if they so wish. Amongst these are techniques for using a camera and for taking pictures, basic drawing skills and the right attitudes and tool needed for bird-observation, for example. On the environmental level, the summer camp helped the children to have a different perspective on their environment and to understand the importance of protecting this latter.
In all, the summer camp is a project that can be appraised on two levels – short-term and long term.
In the short term, it helped in arming 10 children with different tools, teaching them different subjects and helping them to understand the different issues that presently stall conservation efforts.
In the long term, the summer camp would have fulfilled the wishes of all the persons that directly or indirectly participated in this great initiative – to produce champions in the service of conservation efforts in the PNBA ecosystems, and future adults capable of defending their protected environment.
This wish could well come true through a follow-up on this young reporters because in 10 days, these children made astonishing progress ; from discovering a camera to capturing successful images just like true photojournalists.
Enjoy some photographs of our young photojournalists !
Maimouna, an eco-guide; photo by Beibani 12 years old
Landscape of El Ain next to Mamghar village; photo by Cheinouna 15 years old
Garbage collection next to Iwik village; photo by Beibani 12 years old