Youth Custodians for Sustainability of SNS
Since its establishment MELCA-Ethiopia has been working to conserve Bio cultural diversity in the Sacred Natural Site (SNS) through implementation of the cultural connection to nature conservation concept.
One of the methods that the organization has been implementing is motivating the rehabilitation of cultural practice/knowledge that helps conservation of natural resource in and around Sacred Natural Site.
For the realization of this objective MELCA has been working in collaboration and participation of relevant governmental sectors and individuals starting from identification of potential Sacred Natural Site in project areas and organizing custodians to conserve through their participation.
The other activity that MELCA has been conducting in the project areas is empowerment of local community through developing their capacity by giving trainings and experience sharing field trips on different conservation issue at deferent time.
The trainings have been implemented intensively to change negative attitude and increase understanding of the community related to the benefits of conservation of Sacred Natural Sites and thereby reducing destruction from this areas.
Formerly MELCA and other relevant government sectors focus on communities around the area, mostly elders, to conserve their SNS with the view that they know the importance of the site and understand easily as they have close relationship with cultural activities conducted in the site.
Munamuno Sacred Natural Site is one of such area found in Bale zone Dinsho Woreda. It is one of the SNS rehabilitated and conserved by elder custodians. The Custodian association organized around the SNS is devoted for conservation of Munamuno sacred natural site to protect the area from internal and external pressures through fencing the area and follow up.
The efforts made by the custodians to conserve the area by fencing required some labor force like digging, carrying fence material and other activities. Therefore this activity is not easy task for elders. Besides conservation of the Sacred Natural Site by the elder custodians has a limitation because of some reasons like dropout due to age, disease, death and weak coordination.
Therefore the Sacred Natural Site started to face treats like cutting of trees and damaging the fences by community members who are against the idea as well as agricultural expansions. However MELCA provided awareness training solve the problems to community members including youth and it was become fruitful.
After the training youths of the community observing what is going on the remaining resource and the responsibility of their ancestor to convey to them. They believed that to be passionate person to take the role of ancestor high and critical responsibilities.
Abdurahman Aman and Ahmed Umer are among youth community volunteers to exerted their efforts to conserving the natural resource in Munamuno SNS.
Abdurahman and Ahmed explain that they have got a chance to hearing and understood about the importance of Sacred Natural Site MELCA giving training for wider community. And they aware the benefits of sacred natural site from training given and observed the inverse human activity on it. And also they understood the limitation of former conservation custodians association.
They have begun their job by convincing their friends one by one and organized youth group agreed with their objective. Accordingly they discussed with youth group in the community around Munamuno SNS to fence the site and fenced sacred natural site with local biological materials and materials donated by MELCA.
Currently Munamuno Sacred Natural Site is among well protected and rehabilitated Sacred Natural Site (SNS). According to them with this work they saved their Sacred Natural Site and related historical values of their ancestors. Finally their message for all conservation practitioners is to include young generation in all activities so as rapid success is achieved.