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Thanks to a new three-year agreement with Peru’s Ministry of Education, WSPA is developing a ‘train the trainer’ programme for teachers in the north of the country, spreading the animal welfare message as wide as possible.
The agreement, part of WSPA’s International Animal Welfare Education programme targeting the teachers of students aged from 5 to 16 years old, has been endorsed by the Peruvian National Commission for Cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Similar programmes, running in Costa Rica for 18 years, in Chile since 2006, and in Peru’s capital Lima since 2002, have already trained over 1,000 teachers, meaning an estimated 70,000 young people now have a better understanding of animal welfare.
“These programmes have been key to changing attitudes towards animals and we believe they have brought about a reduction in cruelty and animal suffering as a result. We hope to replicate this success in the north of Peru,” explains Carlos Chacón, WSPA education manager.
WSPA's programmes have helped teachers in Chile pass on animal welfare messages since 2006
© Matías Recart
The first 120 Peruvian teachers to be trained took part in a five-day workshop run by WSPA’s Colombian education team.
The participants received animal welfare education resources including video and classroom aids, not only to teach their own students with, but to train other teachers too. Peer-to-peer training is essential to the success of the programme.
Carlos explains: “Our approach is to take a core group of teachers through a comprehensive process so that they completely understand that animals can experience pleasure, pain and suffering, and that humans have the intrinsic responsibility to care for the animals they interact with.
“These teachers then become local advocates, passing their knowledge and training to their colleagues. The colleagues then pass it on too – the training spreads quickly and effectively.”
Primary school teacher Jose Castillo was inspired by the workshop: “This kind of training will really help with good teaching practice. Before I was not aware of the importance of encouraging children to protect animals, but now I want my students to treat animals well and to value what they do and give to us.”
Over the next three years the programme will be monitored by local WSPA member societies and Peru’s education authorities. If successful, it will be rolled out in other areas of Peru and act as a catalyst for more compassionate attitudes towards animals.
Shortly after the first training session, WSPA staff met with Emilio Delgado, a representative from the Peruvian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO.
Mr Delgado made UNESCO’s endorsement of WSPA’s Peru-based animal welfare education work official, recognising the quality of the project being developed and indicating a future of collaboration between the two parties.
WSPA’s Maria Nelly Cajiao said: “I have no doubt that UNESCO’s support by will help us to achieve our objective: to completely embed animal welfare in Peru’s education system and extend this to other South American countries.”