Part 2: Issues in Sustainable Development

Public Awareness                                       

SummaryPublic Awareness

Public awareness refers to the important role that community enthusiasm and knowledge has in building sustainable societies. Delivering knowledge to remote communities requires strategies for effective communication.

Main Idea

Role of civil society and public attitudes

Key Concepts

      • Importance of public involvement
      • Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)


Knowledge of

      • types of awareness-raising activities
      • environmental education organizations in Africa

Understanding of

      • freedom of information
      • independent media
      • health promotion and education goals

Ability to

      • describe examples of how local radio networks distribute information in rural areas
      • describe how health information can be distributed through primary schools

Core Readings

  1. Public Environmental Awareness and Education
    Overview of types of awareness-raising activities and important considerations (4 pages)
  2. Environmental Information and Education
    Overview of major environmental education organizations in Africa (2 pages)
  3. Health Promotion
    Description of health promotion and education goals (1 page)
  4. Media and Poverty Reduction, pages 11-13
    Collection of essays connecting freedom of information and independent media to human development (3 pages)

Sustainability Strategies

  1. Community Radio: A Voice for the Poor
    Information and examples about the role local radio networks can play in distributing information in rural areas (4 pages)
  2. The Health Promoting Schools Initiative
    Program for distributing health information through primary schools (2 pages)
  3. Multipurpose Community Telecenters
    Short description of multipurpose community telecenters (1 page)
  4. Natural Disaster Management in Tanzania
    Traditional and indigenous methods for managing natural disasters including reactive and anticipatory approaches; early warning systems (plant, animals, atmosphere, astronomy as indicators), disaster preparedness (food preservation, storage, and early maturing crops), disaster prevention and mitigation for drought and disaster response and recovery for famine and floods (6 pages)

Supplemental Readings

  1. Water Conservation: A Guide to Promoting Public Awareness
    Practical guide to establishing a culture of water conservation through dialogue with stakeholder groups, school education, and media campaigns
    (6 pages)
  2. What are Major Groups?
    Example of inclusion of the nine major interest groups of civil society - including industry, farmers, youth, women, and NGOs involved in decision-making related to agricultural development (3 pages)
  3. Public Participation: Minerals in Africa
    Full discussion of the importance of community participation in environmental decision-making and aspects of that participation including access to information, participation in policy formation, monitoring and enforcement; uses the example of the mining sector in Malawi along with other short case studies (44 pages)
  4. Community, Consumer, and Workers Right to Know
    Definition of public right-to-know regarding environmental hazards and waste
    (1 page)
  5. Ten Steps to Establishing a Multipurpose Community Telecenter (
    Ten booklets that walk the reader through the steps necessary for establishing a Multipurpose Community Telecenter (224 pages)
  6. Lake Victoria Basin Environment Outlook
    A review of the social, economic and environmental conditions, emerging trends and opportunities for the Lake Victoria Basin region (4 pages)
  7. Natural Disaster Management in Kenya
    Information on traditional and indigenous natural disaster management in Kenya including early warning systems, disaster prediction, prevention and mitigation, food security and storage, treatment of disease during disasters, and disaster response and recovery (3 pages)

Assignment Questions

  1. Public Awareness: What role do community and traditional leaders play in public awareness? What considerations are important in the designing of public awareness campaigns in rural areas?
  2. Interconnections: Public Awareness & Education: What is the goal of environmental education?
  3. Interconnections: Decision-Making and Public Awareness: Describe the role that the media plays in decision-making and human development in a democratic society.