The Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA) hosted an information session in Honiara yesterday.

The aim of the session was to bring together agencies, Foreign Missions, and High Commission Offices to hear from local rangers and their work in the provinces.

SIRA is a non- government organization working towards empowering rangers in community-based conservations around Solomon Islands.

Yesterday’s session provided an opportunity for community-based conservation groups to share their experiences, challenges, and future plans to a wider audience.

With the continuing loss and disruption to natural biodiversity, SIRA supports local rangers by collaborating with NGO’s and the government to facilitate capacity building and implementing natural resource management and conservation work in rural communities.

Participants of the information session.

Speaking during last nights event, SIRA Technical Consultant Albert Kwatelae explains that their work with communities is based on embracing traditional knowledge, encouraging research, and supporting green economy.

“We encourage rangers to embrace Traditional knowledge and skills as they are still useful in their resource management, how they live and how they do things on their land. We also encourage research where we involve researchers in research work conducted by local and oversea researchers as we want them to be researchers themselves in the future.”

“And we also support green economy by ensuring there is sustainable economy for people in rural areas. This is also in line with the country’s National Sustainable Development Policy,” said Kwatelae.

SIRA currently has a total of 32 registered community-based conservation members and 160 rangers.

With its members spreading across most of the provinces, SIRA stays in contact with its members through its funded activities targeting rangers and through invitations from other community-based conservation groups.

Although challenging to keep connected with all its members, Mr. Kwatelae says they have so far succeeded by following these two processes.

Meanwhile, representatives from conservation groups in Malaita and Guadalcanal Province also shared the challenges faced by their communities. The sustainability of conservation groups and human resource was among the most common challenge faced by all communities.

A participant of the information session doing his presentation.

Some recommended regular visits by SIRA and partner NGO’s to ensure that conservation work in their communities continues. On human resource, communities highlighted that as it is mostly volunteer work, it is challenging for communities to ensure that rangers remain consistent with their work.

Despite the challenges, communities also acknowledged SIRA for their efforts in reaching rural communities and providing needed support.

Representative of Kogala community in Guadalcanal, Justin Ron commended SIRA for supporting his community with information sharing.

“We are so fortunate to have SIRA support our rangers by educating our people through information sharing on the importance and benefits of conservation.

‘They have also educated our people on the acts of parliament relating to the environment and forests. This kind of information’s never reached our communities so we are grateful to have SIRA sharing these to us,” he said.

SIBC News understands, SIRA is currently supported through the “United States Forest Services project”  in partnership with Guadalcanal Provincial Government.


By Eliza Kukutu

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