Solomon Islands Ranger Training and the formation of the Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA)
The Ranger Training concluded on Friday 16th October 2015 with the birth of a new umbrella organization for rangers, in the Solomon Islands Ranger Association - SIRA. A celebrated milestone for an initiative that began as a conduit between the Thin Green Line and the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Association (SICCP) more than a year ago.
Brent Masters representing the Thin Green Line at this Training came to the Solomon Islands in August last year (2014) together with Meagan Williams from Global Leadership Foundation (GLF) for a scoping trip across SICCP’s network of sites within the Western Province. Discussions following this brought together Ranger representatives from conservation sites to a meeting in April this year (2015). Lead by Henry Kaniki, the Arnavon Marine Managed Conservation Area Coordinator and Albert Kwatelae, SICCP’s Partnership Coordinator, the rangers discussed a draft constitution and an interim Committee was endorsed.
In the Solomon Islands, conservation sites that have on going ranger work for some years now are; Tetepare Island and the Arnavon Island and Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA) and Zaira Community on south Vangunu Island. Such an initiative brings together indigenous people to manage and monitor the day-to-day operations of their conservation area. Examples of activities are; on Tetepare Island, rangers’ roles are reef monitoring, coconut crab monitoring and ongoing maintenance of the field station on Tetepare Island. Though at a small scale, few activities are also conducted by rangers in Kolombangara Island and Zaira Community.
This first ever Ranger Training brought together Rangers, managers and naturalists from across Solomon Islands archipelago to Honiara for a two-week long training. The range of topics taught were: Conservation in Solomon Islands, Eco Tourism, Sustainability Development, Sustainable Financing and many more. It was pleasing to have presenters from a range of field disciplines; Science, Tourism, Finance, Law and Natural Resource Management Initiatives who presented case studies, methodology and hands on activities. The tools presented may be useful for Rangers to apply at their respective sites. Two field trips to Poha area and Veuru at Visale, included practical sessions for rangers to learn methods for marine surveys, and how to set up vegetation plots.
Two other important components of the training was First Aid Training conducted by Red Cross Solomon Islands and a visiting team of representatives from the Thin Green Line – Brent Master, Global Leadership Foundation – Meagan Williams and Jo a long served Ranger from Queensland National Parks. Though a strenuous two weeks, the Rangers were equipped with the skills, knowledge, and provided some equipment to carry on their duties at their respective sites.
At the end of the training, a formal meeting was conducted firming the beginning of SIRA and an Executive Committee was elected. This includes; Albert Kwatelae, SICCP’s Partner Coordinator as the President, Henry Kaniki as the Vice President, Silas Wagatora as the Secretary and Ferguson Vaghi as the Treasurer. SIRA at its earliest stages of development will be housed and working closely with SICCP as its leading Organisation and in the coming year intends to be on its feet once it is well established with an office.
Our sincere thank you to the efforts of all that have put this training together, and to it’s success. Most importantly Critical Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society for the funds in making this possible, the University of Queensland and Ecological Solution Solomon Islands and Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP) for facilitating and coordinating its roll out. This training is the start of more training says SIRA’s newly elected President, Albert Kwatelae and with ultimate efforts of all involved, SICCP welcomes this initiative in it current set up with the intent too to broader its partnership beyond its Western Province and Makira – Ulawa Province network.
22 October, 2015
Solomon Islands Ranger Training, 5-16 October, 2015 from Patrick Pikacha on Vimeo.