I take a look around me and see many happy faces smiling, as if today is being the best day of their lives. It is an important day for the Community Forestry Management Leaders and the community. Preparations were made and a big tent was set up here in the center of Kraing Serey. Today is the big day. Today it becomes official …
On the 9th September 2016, the community of Kraing Serey village along with the FAC Directors and the staff of Mlup Baitong got together to celebrate the half time of their project. A Community Forestry Management and Livelihood Improvement (CFMLI) project is located at the village, being one of Mlup Baitong’s main fields of action. The activities there include trainings for the community, where they learn about the importance of nature and how to take care of the forest properly. Due to the attendances at, for example, civil culture workshops, the villagers could learn how to protect the woods by themselves in the future. First, the theory was explained and shown on the whiteboard. In addition, everybody got a script from the Mlup Baitong staff as a note of memory. On the next day, the community went into the forest, equipped with axes and machetes, to try out the newly-taught procedures by themselves. One part of the timber-forest is now already prepared and trees and grasses are cut correctly. To help the forest grow better and stronger in future, branches of trees must be cut frequently. After these trainings the dwellers will be self-reliant and autonomous, so they won’t need the help of Mlup Baitong any longer. This is important in order to sustain the forest and help it expand. Besides, organic gardens were formed which grow without chemicals and pesticides. The plants rely only on natural help and can be eaten without any concerns regarding to health. Furthermore, Self Help Groups (SHG) developed to raise attention to some problems and gather ideas for improvement. Issues were discussed on a round table and solutions were proposed, especially for women.
All this was celebrated during the ceremony and at the end, the six Community Forestry Management Leaders signed the contract to continue with the CFMLI in the next six years. It was not a congregation to only review the past, but especially to look ahead. Many goals have already been reached but many more shall be achieved in the future. That’s why a big applause arose every time one of the six Community Forestry Management Leaders put his or her name under the contract.
by Elisabeth Keuten, volunteer