BY SAMIE WAIKORI
AHETAHA Water Conservation Association (AWCA) with Solomon Islands Rangers Association have held a two-day rangers training for conservation groups within Aiaisi ward 19 in East Are’Are, Malaita province.
The training was held at Ahetaha training centre in Manawai from March 24-25, 2021 as part of AWCA’s activity under its UNDP/GEF funding support.
In a statement from General Secretary of Solomon Islands Rangers Association and AWCA Coordinator, Mr Eddie Huitarau, he said the training was facilitated by president of Solomon Islands Rangers Association, Mr Albert Kwatelae and attended by 25 participants (six females) from five sister conservation groups namely; Ahetaha, Lausia, Roreaita, Tookina and Su’upa’ura.
He said the training is a series of capacity building course and rangers are required to complete four units. However, Huitarau said only three units were covered due to time limitation. They expect to complete the remaining unit in the next phase.
Conservation groups are now aware of their responsibilities and how to execute duties within their conservation areas and develop other conservation works.
Facilitator, Mr Albert Kwatelae said the training is important for communities since many conservation initiatives have been established by multiple communities, tribal groups, and individual communities.
“This means number of community-based rangers and champions are accumulating which demand need for specific skills and knowledge to carry out tasks in the conservation sites.
“This is the gap, the rangers association is connecting by building capacities among men and women in the communities and part of the conservation groups and those who are member to rangers’ association.
“These can enhance and support their daily work and help make right and effective management decisions,” he said.
Huitarau said this is the reason AWCA took the initiative in partnership with Solomon Islands Rangers Association, NGOs and specialists to carry out capacity buildings for rangers (both men and women) in Ahetaha Conservation Area.
He said during the two days training participants went through theory lectures, group activities and activities like field survey and practical applications of things they learnt.
Adding that participants were taught on the standard way (as used in other conservation sites in the country) to do survey and monitoring on coral reefs and mangrove forest as the major hands-on activities.
“In fact, these hands-on sessions encourage rangers, and champions to interact and build confident in the technical areas of rangers training,” he said.
Huitarau said during field activities conducted on the coral reef and mangrove surveys in AWCA, three ranger groups engaged in the activity as part of the rangers’ hands on and practical application of the processes and methods they learned.
He said participants had done a transact each to survey the site as they count and identify mangrove species along the 50mx 2m transact in Ahetaha Mangrove forest.
Saying this is a simple method to monitor mangroves and understand their growth patterns and how they protect the coastal areas.
Huitarau said participants included rangers, stewards and champions had benefited a lot from the training.