Kishugu Training teaches ‘Africa’ to manage wildfires
The exciting and innovative 3-phase ‘Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in Southern Africa’ project training Southern African Development Community (SADC) delegates to reduce the damage caused by unwanted wildfires in their own countries took place at Kishugu Training in Mbombela (Nelspruit).
The Prescribed Fire Operations Training funded by the Japan Forestry Technology Association (JAFTA) comes as the world reels from the impact of more and more unwanted wildfires.
The project focuses on equipping the SADC secretariat and member states with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage forest conservation and forest resources to achieve sustainability. Kishugu Training is involved in the ‘integrated fire management and trans-border issues’ leg of the project.
In July 14 delegates from SADC countries completed the first phase. This month another 13 SADC forestry officials from Namibia, Malawi, Botswana and other neighbouring countries completed phase one.
According to Namibian delegate Joseph Simataa, “The training opened my mind and gave me another view and approach to fire. I feared fire now I see fire as a means of conservation and a friend”.
“I understand now that fire is not always destructive. It is also a tool and means to give specific treatment to a piece of land or vegetation” said Chandra Ramful from Mauritius.
Jun Kajigaki and Yoshiro Kurashina, the JICA observers, were present for the duration of the course and were joined on the last day of training by the SADC JICA project leader, Katsutaka Kikkawa.
The complete project comprises of three phases each negotiated and contracted separately. “You could say we are in the infancy of this project which we hope will lead to greater awareness about wildfires across Southern Africa – and perhaps even further North,” said Willie Buchner, CEO of Kishugu Training.
The second and third phase requires further negotiations. “Essentially the purpose of this course is to enable the delegates to coordinate controlled burning operations according to a fire prevention plan,” said Willie Buchner. He added that Kishugu Training was in conversation with JICA to continue bringing more SADC delegates to the training academy.
Kishugu Training offers specialised training to individuals as well as corporate and governmental departments in industries ranging from forestry, agriculture and conservation to safety and security. “We have either accreditation or endorsement with many professional bodies for our courses,” said Willie Buchner. “And we ensure that our courses remain relevant.”