Effective Public Outreach Campaign about Sanjay Gandhi National Park

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Published: 22 June 2016
Last edited: 10 November 2016
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Summary

SGNP is amongst the most visited protected wilderness areas in the world (1.2 mio. entry tickets being sold on a yearly average). In spite of this, public awareness about SGNP has been very low. I have teamed up with the management of SGNP on a wide spectrum project to reach out to many people and get them involved in the park. We initiated an education and awareness campaign with website, print media etc., for the public (through overnight camps, guided walks etc.) and decision makers.

Classifications

Region
South Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Mangrove
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Pool, lake, pond
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Theme
Access and benefit sharing
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Cities and infrastructure
Health and human wellbeing
Legal & policy frameworks
Outreach & communications
Peace and human security
Protected area governance
Sustainable tourism

Location

Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Challenges

Lack of public support and awareness SGNP lies in the heart of suburban Mumbai city (an island city) and is surrounded by a population of >16 million people (population of Mumbai Metropolitan Region is >20 million). There is a serious lack of public awareness and education about SGNP. This lack of public support and awareness also translates to lack of political will making the SGNP forests vulnerable to all sorts of anthropogenic threats.

Beneficiaries

People of Mumbai Management of the SGNP

How do the building blocks interact?

1. Without interactions with stake holders (PA managers), demonstrative exercises and planning, implementation would not have been possible. Without winning the media support (as a part of planning) at the outset, the publicity and outreach of the exercise would not have been possible. 2. Through the capacity building and training exercise I expect new inputs and new, fresh dimensions to be added to this solution. As a result, the first two building blocks I mentioned will be upgraded and adapted once again.

Impacts

1. Well appreciated and highly sought after activities being organised and almost all our activities and engagement opportunities are being booked to full capacity. 2. Good response and consistent coverage by the print and electronic media. 3. Increased receptiveness and eagerness to do more is now palpable in the forest department staff. 4. In slightly more than a year, we have more than 30,000 individuals following our activities and announcements on the social media. 5. Increased income for the park.

Story

Success stories are a plenty. But the one I would want to share is that at the outset, the PA management was very skeptical of the efficacy of the solutions. Not everybody, but only the Director of SGNP ie. the head of the forest force at SGNP was welcoming of the plans and suggestions. His enthusiasm and readiness to take necessary actions was of course a big inspiration for me. But within the department the lower ring staff was not really welcoming in their necessary involvement. There was a lot of ambiguity and doubt as to how it would work and what will be the big change it will set upon them. But since the plan has been put into action, this situation has changed. The success of the events, both in financial terms, and the appreciation they are getting from the public and media, has helped alter this situation and now we are seeing more enthusiasm and energy to embrace new ideas.

Contributed by

Shardul Bajikar Adventure - sports and beyond

Contributors

Mr. Vikas Gupta
Sanjay Gandhi National Park