BY BEN BILUA
MAI-MAASINA Green Belt (MMGB) group which consists of conservationists from Malaita province recently completed a look and learn trip to conservation associations in Western and Choiseul provinces.
Eddie Huitarau from Solomon Islands Rangers said the look and learn trip was organised to provide an opportunity for various conservation reps affiliated under MMGB to visit protected areas and to obtain and enhance perspective on the working context made by Sirebe Tribal Association.
He said Babatana Rainforest Conservation Project and the Sirebe Tribal Association have made history by becoming the first landowner group in the Solomon Islands to commence trading under a forest carbon project.
Huitarau adds that Mai-Maasina Green Belt is proud to be the first environmental organisation to take a visit and do look and learn trip to Sirebe.
He said the trip activity was supported and funded by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund – a small grant and implemented by MMGB, focusing on look and learn trip activity to conservation sites with Protected Area status and declaration.
Huitarau described the trip as a worthwhile opportunity that brings substantial information for MMGB Conservation rangers.
He said knowledge and skill obtained from the trip will definitely boost the visiting team to get maximum benefit so as to further their conservation aspiration.
One of the visitors, Alick Kingz of Kira Tribal Chief and MMGB Elder said the trip was an eye opener and he thanked MMGB for organising this learning trip as well as CEPF for funding.
He also acknowledged the Solomon Islands Rangers office for facilitating the basic rangers training on site.
Kingz said technical skill obtained from Siborae Conservation rangers were beneficial for the visiting team.
“Though we are only coming from behind we can sense that this trip do really create in us the belief that we are not alone as far as rangers is concerned. We are a member of big conservation family determined for one common goal,” he said.
Another member of the team Joyce Kauraena shared similar sentiment saying that the technical skills learned during the trip were new for her especially the basic skills in doing Forest inventory readings and calculation to find the cubic stand of your own tribal land.
She said learned lots of things but one that stood out is the importance having biological and species baseline data of your own tribal land.
“This training was timely and relevant as such a time and with the information provided through the trip, she feels that her work will improve,” Kauraena said.
MMGB Chairman Max Totorea applauded NRDF, Gizo office for accepting the request sent by the MMGB office to assist them with the trip’s activities.
“Your support means a lot for the eight conservation groups who are in a Protected Areas process.
“I think it’s good to learn from Sirebe’s experience so that we do not repeat the same challenge and at the same time we learn from them”, he said.
The eight conservation association which travelled under MMGB are Ahetaha Water Conservation, Baru Conservation Alliance, Kira-Takataka Tribal Conservation, Ora Tribal Conservation, Po’otori People’s Foundation, Raripaina Biodiversity Conservation, To’okina Tribal Land Conservation and Wai-Hau Conservation Foundation.