Firing up the network! Interview with “Papa Pride”, getting down to business…and an Alumni congo line?,

Yesterday’s work at the Inaugural Rare Pride Latin America gathering brought the first brainstorming sessions to establish a vision for this burgeoning network.   We also had sessions on the use of mobile phone technology for constituency-building, conflict resolution training, monitoring and evaluation skill building, and of course a jam-packed session on Miradi (www.miradi.org) – no surprise given the number of campaign managers years ago who were trained before this software was developed.

Some of the objectives under consideration for the Latin America alumni network and RarePlanet.org include:  dynamic interchange of experiences by local leaders changing community social norms; a platform for securing funding and volunteers; a network of practitioners changing the practice of conservation; a source of mutual support and camaraderie (the Spanish word “companerismo” is tough to beat); resources for practitioners; a bank of stories that highlight challenges and inspiring success; an online translation service that ensures global sharing of good practices; and the dream that within five years even the remote, rural target communities will be able to access RarePlanet.org through mobile phone technology.  Of course, a number of significant challenges were also named, but we have a couple days left to work on those.

Paul Butler, Rare’s Senior Vice President and the founder of the Rare Pride campaigns, was of course pleased as punch. Here’s a quick video made with a Flip camera.


Click here to watch interview with Paul Butler

(By the way, to which Colonel Sanders was he referring?)

Last night, after three days in hotel conference rooms, the entire group took over a local restaurant and demonstrated to Guadalajara how social change agents let off steam, especially in Latin America.  Of course these skills come in handy when it’s time to mobilize communities.

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And to think: tonight is the actual party.