The staff working in the different areas of the ACG had not received a comprehensive, formal and uniform training for the area’s effective management and organization. As a result, a lack in the transfer of knowledge and experience from senior officials to beginners has prevailed.
As part of the development and management of the ACG (Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), a geographical division named “sector” has been established. It consists of a specific protected land portion that’s managed, protected and organized by one person with one or more assistants. This division is called Sector Program and is composed of 20 territories and 46 employees, whose duties are in a great extent equivalent to those of the park rangers of other protected areas. Some of the main responsibilities are: to take over the representation of the assigned area and to make decisions for administration improvement; to help other programs such as control and protection operations, fire prevention and control, rescue of missing persons; to provide assistance in the logistical and educational activities of the Biological Education Program; to guide and provide assistance to researchers and parataxonomists as well as to cooperate in special activities and celebrations, among other. Ninety percent of the staff is composed of native inhabitants from nearby communities. The vast majority has low academic education (unfinished elementary and/or high school), but their primary skills, field knowledge and hands-on learning abilities in different fields are key to carry out their jobs.
It is worth to mention that part of the program officials is a first generation, with an average of 15 or more years of continuous service; nonetheless, a new generation is being trained currently. The group in general has lacked the opportunity to attend formal training in theoretical and practical studies that relate directly to the management of a protected area. Basic concepts of conservation biology, theory of protected areas and its models, first aid and rescue, attention of tourists and researchers, trail planning and design, identification and monitoring of species, need to be reinforced in order to complement them with the acquired practical experience of the staff.
The project aimed at taking advantage of the knowledge and skills of the senior officers by having them teach a formal course for beginners, to complement their daily field experience simultaneously.
To teach this course, the experience, knowledge and skills of the staff of the ACG were taken into account to become “instructors” in certain fields (internal self training) and external instructors would give training in specific areas.
To facilitate a continuous, thorough, formal and homogeneous training for the staff of the Sector Program in order to complement and strengthen their acquired knowledge with theoretical and practical concepts. This will improve the management of biodiversity and the running of ACG´s historical and cultural resources.
•To train 46 officers of the Sector Program.
•To implement a formal training model that may be replicated by other programs and that is suitable for future generations of the ACG.
•To obtain the endorsement from the Civil Service for these programs as an incentive for public servants.
Thanks to this project, the daily challenges faced by the park rangers were better managed as it provided them with the needed skills to make decisions for each of their assigned sectors.