The Leuser International Foundation (LIF) has successfully completed the Program “Training for Forest Conservation Officers in Aceh” according to the Final Contribution Agreement between LIF and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), dated 11 Aust 2006. Thanks to this contribution from the people of Canada the forests of Aceh have been rewarded with enhanced recourses and hence improved potential for sustainable management of one of the most important forest conservation areas in the world.
The post-Tsunami reconstruction activity in Aceh has put increased pressure of the forests of Aceh. It is clear that proper protection is crucial for the sustainable development to save the services on which the local communities so heavily depend. Leuser International Foundation with its Presidential mandate to manage the Leuser Ecosystem plays an and portent role in this effort. The Leuser Ecosystem covering 2.6 million hectare of land 80% that is situated in Aceh and the rest in North Sumatra on the border to Aceh. Looking at 130th short and long-term management objectives, it has becomes evident that there is increasing need for management recourses and a continuous regeneration of conservation profesional.
The main objective with the Training for Forest Conservation Officers in Aceh is to contribute to the lmprovement of the forest management and the protection of the forests of Aceh, with particular emphasis on the Leuser Ecosystem. The program aims at select and train 30 youths from the local area in basic conservation skills and community monitoring techniques. The best candidates (approximately 10) will get further training and on-the-job experience to be able to lead the Community Monitoring Team in the field. In a long-term perspective, these Conservation Officers are expected to be capable to take the lead in promoting and preventing conservation agendas in the future.
The specific activities of the Conservation Officer Training Program include:
1. Selection of candidates.
2. Consultation and finalization of syllabus for the Conservation Officer Training.
3. Training for 2 months followed by another 2 months training program.
4. Construction of Monitoring Posts.
5. On the job training for the Conservation Officers.
6. Completion of training and absorption as LIF staff.
The selection of the candidates was carried out during November and December 2006. The program was announced in local newspapers and at local government offices. 1063 persons applied at the 10 the registrations centers located in different local areas within or close to the Leuser Ecosystem. The 494 candidates that qualified based on the specified requirements including education background underwent a written examination including various disciplines (mathematics, science, history, geography, and English). 70 candidates qualified for the next selection step, i.e. interview, physical test, medical examination and psychology test conducted in Banda Aceh and Medan, North Sumatra. 30 successful candidates were selected to take part in the training.
During the selection process a Canadian training expert, Mr. Murrey Hindle, came to share his expertise by assisting in finalising the syllabus for the training. He submitted an initial report that was used as a support to initiate the first training phase. Head Trainer Mr. Philip Wells and Program Leader G.V Reddy also played an important role in finalising the syllabus for the first moths training. However the final report that was supposed to be produced by Mr. Hindle was never submitted. For the want of the final report from the international training expert, the Program Leader designed the syllabus for the continuation of the training with assistance from lecturers from Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) in Medan, Universitas Syiah Kuala (Unsyiah) and Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Kehutanan (STIK) in Banda Aceh and inputs from LIF’s own expertise staff.