Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019. 10:35 am CST.
By BBN Staff:Twenty-four community members of Arenal Village, Cayo were given certificates for their participation on agro-ecological capacity building exercises yesterday.
The exercise was conducted by the Field Technicians and Landscape Manager of Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD).
The group has been working with the community since November of last year.
Arenal is a small community of about 600 inhabitants found immediately on the western border.
It is a unique community since they live side by side to the other Arenal community in Guatemala.
Adjacent to the community is also the Vaca Forest Reserve.
The reserve is approximately 40,303 acres in size administered by the Forest Department.
FCD has been working with farmers found near the reserve for six years with the purpose of reducing human footprint expansion into the reserve by teaching them integrated farm methods, using agro-ecology, and ago-forestry techniques.
By petition from the alcalde of Arenal, Lucio Ruiz, the capacity building program was expanded to cover members of that community.
FCD says that the experience has been gratifying due to the enthusiasm and commitment expressed and demonstrated by both men and women of this community.
Over 60 villagers were present at the event.
Welcome remarks were given by the local alcalde, followed by FCD and GEF SGP representatives who applauded the interest demonstrated by villagers.
Each of the villagers who attended the multiple trainings then received their certificates.
Words of reflection were given by Nerieda Ramos, who represents the women’s group and who becomes the actual Field School Promoter for the village.
It is expected that the community group will further organize themselves and move forward in developing products for sale, such as lotion, soap, and detergents.
This initiative demonstrates another reason the importance of protected areas and a manner of how communities can be stewards and beneficiaries of these forested areas.
This community support has been possible through the support of the Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Programme and the British High Commission Office in Belize.
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