The scorching sun that morning did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of the people of Marang, an urban village located in the Bukit Batu District, Palangka Raya City. On June 29, 2022, the Fire Care Community (Masyarakat Peduli Api or MPA) of Marang Village was inaugurated after its formation by the Sebangau National Park Agency (BTNS) and the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia.
The establishment ceremony of MPA Marang was attended by Kurnianson, a representative of the Bukit Batu Sub-district; Yuliati Ningsih, the Marang Village Head; Agus Sunarto, the Head Sergeant of Marang; Lisna Yulianti S.Hut, Head of SPTN Region 1 Sebangau National Park; and Fransiskus A. Harsanto, Community Development Manager of BNF Indonesia’s Sebangau Programme.
The MPA in Marang Village consists of 10 people. The MPA Head chosen by the Marang Lurah is Mrs. Marlita Chica. According to the Marang Village Head, Yuliati, Marlita was selected as chairwoman because of her activity in the Village Association and her enthusiasm for the MPA’s formation.
One of the main objectives of establishing an MPA in Marang Village is to strengthen fire prevention efforts at the community level. With this new MPA, it is hoped that the community will gain more awareness, taking care not to burn their land, thus preventing the formation of fire hotspots, as well as reporting any outbreaks.
In addition to growing community awareness, the Head of SPTN Region 1 Sebangau National Park, Lisna Yulianti, hopes that MPA Marang will play a critical role in preventing the spread of fires into the National Park.
“This relates to the location of Marang Village, which lies in one of Sebangau National Park’s buffer zones, making it key to halting the spread of forest and land fires should they occur.”
The Marang Village community’s enthusiasm for the MPA is evident from the many questions asked during its inauguration. Most of these questions had to do with training, which will see sessions delivered on firefighting and security.
Hambli, a Marang villager, told us that he was very excited by the MPA’s formation, since he had served as a Manggala Agni (Forest and Land Fire Control Brigade) volunteer during the major fires of 2015 and 2019.
“Even though I was appointed as the Head of the Community Nursery in Marang, I will still help my friends in MPA Marang Village,” he said.
Later that day, a socialization event and formal establishment of the Marang Village Community Nursery programme, developed in collaboration with BTNS and BNF Indonesia, was also held. Another programme introduced by BNF Indonesia is permaculture, which will provide an alternative source of income for community members by selling the resulting produce.
This community involvement is integral to the goals of BTNS and BNF Indonesia, who together strive to protect the Sebangau National Park, home to one of the largest orangutan populations in the world.
Written by: Shaniya Utamidata/BNF Indonesia