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Experiencing Virtual Advocacy Training - StandUp4Nature

Check out what the executive members of GYBN-Nepal experienced during our StandUp4Nature Virtual Advocacy Training last month!

Saugat Bolakhe

Hearing about the training session on youth advocacy that GYBN, WWF, and GYAT teams were organizing, I immediately felt an urge to apply. Firstly, because I really wanted to learn about advocacy, and secondly because I didn’t have any experience of participating in virtual training beforehand. For a passionate youth working in the field of conservation and youth networking, the opportunity to learn from other youths of the world, to communicate together for a goal, and to build a lasting network, I felt the calling from within.

Since it was my first experience participating in online training I was unsure what to expect. First and foremost, I learned about some intriguing ways to handle a large audience, making sure that they have an engaging time together. Through the global kick-off session, I came to know that there were maximum youth participants (12 of us) from Nepal itself. The training began with the ‘Global Community building session’ on June 15 and lasted for about 2 weeks. We had our Global Wrap Up Session on June 28.

The training was very inclusive and the majority of the presenters represented youths working in biodiversity research and conservation from across the globe. Swetha SB represented the GYBN global chapter where she talked on how GYBN global network, as a family, has been working so far from organizing campaigns, advocating on burning biodiversity issues making sure that youths have their voice heard at major conventions like CBD. Monika Spikerman and Aashish represented GYAT and talked about the structuring of the training. Nathan Spees (Nate) coordinated all the succeeding sessions very well which made our learning easier. As a first timer in online training, I specifically enjoyed the breakout sessions. We got to discuss all the learnings that we gathered throughout the presentations in a small group of participants. The randomly allocated participants in the breakout rooms could have been from any part of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, or American. It was indeed, interesting to hear perspective and experience from someone living in a different part of the world. All the enrolled participants were requested to join the slack ‘standup4nature’ community, wherein we could interact, discuss, find all the resources, have productive discussions, and make lasting connections.

Suveksha Jha

Global Youth Advocacy Training is a virtual training program developed to bring together motivated youths working for nature conservation across the globe. I was introduced to this training through the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) and was nominated by our national chapter; GYBN-Nepal. This training has begun a wonderful journey for me to build networks with like-minded youths around the world.

The captivating picturized presentations and engaging training sessions vividly reflected the hard work the organizing team put to the program. Also, they were available throughout to help the participants get connected through Slack, where all the announcements were made, resources were available and connections with fellow participants were effortless.

The objectives of each presentation during the training session were clear and were delivered very well. I would especially like to bestow my sincere appreciation to the writing team of the action planning handbook: Alison, Nate, Christian, Swetha, Sefa, Jamal, Cai, Tyler, and Ashish. In the future, this handbook will indeed be a guide for us to take and plan our programs and actions, through its visual explanation.

Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about works of GYBN, different campaigns organized around the world by the organizers, and learning about planning, monitoring, and evaluation about campaigns in general. The breakout session helped in brainstorming ideas about various issues for action. This might have taken a conscious effort on the part of the organizers to create the best learning experience virtually. Last but not least our ending session was the major highlight for me, the virtual dance party that I was able to perform in my cultural dress was a cherry on top of this wonderful experience.

After this training, we will be organizing advocacy training in our country soon. We, the GYBN-Nepal family, together with WWF Nepal and their youth volunteers are continuously planning our training and soon will come up with ideas about our training.

Sandeep Neupane

In-depth understanding, then meaningful youth advocacy is a must for a better future. Hence, I was looking forward to joining the Advocacy Training to sharpen up my advocacy skills and knowledge. The opportunity came through Global Youth Biodiversity Network and I was nominated by our Global Youth Biodiversity Network - Nepal chapter. It was my first training in a virtual platform, so I was waiting to see how it unfolded, and to my amazement, the experience was like none other.

The ‘Global kick-off’ session introduced us to what the training was all about. It was such a friendly and congenial ambiance, I got comfortable in minutes. Working with like-minded peers is always a delight and that’s what really happened in the training.

The fun part was how presenters went through with their presentation, each presentation had interesting objectives and was visually stunning. Every session was thoroughly engaging. Besides that, the concept of the break-out room was exceptional, It created good nexus between participants. Indeed, it was an extraordinary ride.

Thanks to the organizers for planning every minute detail to make all feel warm yet not compromise with our learning, to all the participants for being as cooperative and to everyone for this amazing experience. I believe implementing what we’ve learned is crucial and for that we, GYBN-Nepal, are coordinating with other agencies in a similar line to launch our national campaign. We are looking forward to bringing productive results out of this engaging experience.


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