“I am a policy maker for climate change, but I do not have any knowledge of local realities. I need to learn from case studies and hearing from local farmers how they cope with climate change” this was one of the representative voices that rose frequently in the 2015 Youth in Landscape Initiative workshop at Global Landscape Forum (GLF) in Paris.
From 1-4 December, the workshop was designed to guide 50 young innovators together to solve rights and tenure, finance and trade, restoration, measuring success, and education challenges. They were all young, they were all innovators in their field, and they were all passionate about people and their environments. They were mentored by senior professionals. I was one of the 10 young innovators who worked on the Education Theme Landscape Challenge.
As we know, there are so many learning modules available on landscapes and everyone can be a landscape professional. However, it is hard and inefficient for people to discover the modules they want and to place them in an overall learning structure (curriculum). Also, there is a gap between what is being taught and what is needed in the field to understand the landscape, and this knowledge gap inhibits effective coordination and concerted efforts. If people have a lack of landscape competencies, there is a lack of implementation of proven landscape approaches and the benefits they provide.
By considering this situation, we focused to define landscape professionals, their competencies, curriculum and good solution during the entire period of workshop and our team developed idea of an online self-assessment tool called, LandSelf that enables people to assess their landscape related competencies including soft skills (such as multicultural understanding) as well as technical skills (like agricultural knowledge) to identify. It will generate a customized curriculum in order to be an efficient landscape professional what are their gaps and needs to be able to think landscape where different people can interact with in different ways.
You might be wondering that how can you contribute and what will be benefitted to your organizations. Firstly, there will be an opportunity to network with other individuals and landscapes. Secondly, the visibility that the academy will provide will allow for you to reach a wider worldwide audience and most importantly you will be able to access information that is diverse yet relevant to complement your ongoing work and programs and this will be available all in one space.
The academy is a challenge still where Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation, Challenge Partner for Education Theme, is taking a lead to make it live and obviously it needs your support. Well, imagine if all institutions engage landscape approaches, come together to formulate innovation, coherence, visionary curriculum. It will certainly create an education platform that will train young professionals with the right knowledge, skills and mindset to become landscape professionals.