Collaboration and conversation is key to paving the way to change. Environmentally-minded leaders are the keystone of conservation on Mount Namuli, and it is their collaboration and conversations that are paving the way towards conservation. These leaders align and collaborate in the Natural Resource Management Committees of the communities of the mountain. The efficacy of these groups is guided by leadership on both the personal and communal levels and throughout the work of the Legado Namuli Project.
A key step in the process of securing land tenure with the Namuli communities is strengthening the capacity of the Natural Resource Management Committees, supporting their leadership and re-energizing the foundation that motivates them to unite and work together. The Legado Namuli Project is not only working to build capacity among the NRMC but brings NRMCs together to spark meaningful reflections and discussions around the future of natural resource management and community livelihoods.
So, what does conservation mean to the Natural Resource Management Committees of Mount Namuli?
This question came up in Mucunha’s NRMC meeting, and before Legado: Namuli’s field team could share their perspectives, a lively discussion broke out among the committee members, with definitions and stories of their own of what conservation means to them.
NRMC member Sr. Serrote Voloua, followed by various others, explained that conservation does not implicate prohibition, but rather that you must “care for your resources today in a way that will guarantee that you can continue to use them tomorrow”. His home sits at the base of the mountain and a stream runs from the high forests of Namuli through his backyard. It is from this stream that Sr. Serrote takes his water for his family to drink.
He explained that the water flows in the stream behind his home thanks to the forests that protect the water at the source. He shared that “if I were to climb up into the forest and start a fire, I would be directly compromising my own access to a clean and abundant water supply.”
These leaders are motivated by their relationship and understanding of the interdependence of their livelihoods and the resources they depend on, and through Project Legado Namuli’s work in capacity building around Leadership, Governance and Sustainable Natural Resource Management.
These reflections represent change, paved by the vision of the communities and their self-leadership, working in collaboration as a community to protect the environment and build thriving, sustainable futures. This understanding of sustainable natural resource management lays the foundation for a path towards community conservation.
Conservation for the communities of Namuli means finding solutions to protect what they have through their daily actions. This is their legacy.