Fire Free Villages Recognized At Awards Ceremony
Offering initial evidence that fire and haze prevention is possible, six villages that signed up to APRIL’s Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP) kept their communities fire free during what is considered to be the worst possible case of El Nino in Indonesia.
Village chiefs from Kuala Panduk, Petodaan, Segamai villages received awards of Rp. 100 million (USD 7,287) while village chiefs from Pelalawan, Kuala Tolam and Teluk Binjai villages each received Rp. 50 million (USD 3,643) for their successful participation in the FFVP. The award ceremony was presided over by the Riau interim governor in the provincial city, Pekanbaru.
“The government promotes and encourages the fire prevention initiatives established by APRIL Group/ RAPP,” said Riau Interim Governor, Arsyadjuliandi Rachman, adding that such collaboration to prevent land and forest fire could be scaled-up to include more villages and get other stakeholders involved.
Also present at the awarding ceremony was Pelalawan Regent Chief, H. M Harris, who underlined the importance of community involvement in land and forest fire prevention efforts.
“We appreciate this initiative as it has proven itself as a way to prevent land and forest fire as well as complementing wider efforts to prevent illegal land encroachment,” he said.
Launched by the APRIL Group in July this year, the FFVP consists of five core elements executed in collaboration with the provincial government, law enforcement authorities, communities and non-governmental organizations.
These core elements include: providing incentives for communities not to burn land; putting in place community fire crew leaders; making sustainable agricultural alternatives available; air quality monitoring and community awareness promotion.
Managing Director of APRIL Indonesia Operations, Tony Wenas, said APRIL Group team will study the many lessons learned from the successful first stage of the programme’s implementation as it works to engage more villages. The FFVP team is planning to include 18 additional villages in the next programme cycle.
“Fire prevention requires commitment and awareness from all related parties to ensure fire and haze problem does not recur and all participating villagers are winners in their effort to prevent land and forest fire,” Tony added.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, representatives from the nine villages signed an agreement to continue their participation in the programme.
The award ceremony was also attended by the Dean of Riau University, Aras Mulyadi, Wirabima 031 military commander, Colonel I Nyoman Parwata, Riau police deputy chief, Joko Hartono, Pelalawan police chief Ade Johan Sinaga, sub-district chiefs and village heads in Pelalawan and Pelalawan regency officials.
About the Fire Free Village Program: