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BAMBOO: CONSERVING FORESTS AND BUILDING HOMES
We are transitioning from the wet season to ‘winter’. Rain still falls intermittently.
On a plot of vacant land amid forest and plantations, a group of villagers sweat under the heat of the midday sun, straining to shape bamboo slats. They are building a roof. The villagers are in training; learning the basic skills of bamboo construction. Today they have left their daily work tending betelnut, rubber and fruit plantations to gather in Kyaik Phee Lan and learn this new skill.
Not only locals are in attendance. Among the concentrating group are individuals from all over the region who have come to learn about bamboo construction.
He was concentrating hard to forge a groove in a bamboo slat when we approached him. “I have gained a lot knowledge during this course,” he said. “I will share what I have learned with my community.”
“We decided to set up cooperate with BIF to provide technical support to the communities to nurture, maintain and build using bamboo, with a view to developing sustainable bamboo forestry practices here. Bamboo is readily available in the area, so all villages are invited to the training - anyone interested is welcome to join!”
“The training will bring big benefits both in terms of business opportunity and environmental conservation,” he added.
Back on site, U Khun Myat Min Thu, from Pounamu explains what’s happening.
“We’re using bamboo slats in this construction, explaining the form, measurements we need and finally how to put it together. Once we’ve demonstrated, everyone can do it themselves. This means they can learn and build at the same time.”
The whole village of Kyaik Phee Lan is excited to see the final product; a building funded by WWF-Myanmar that will serve as a communal area for the whole community to enjoy.
Saw Demo (we’ve met him before), the village’s youth leader said, “I’m really proud of what we have done, and to be part of this team. This building will be the pride of the village, and it will be very useful too!” by gazing this constructing bamboo building.
WWF-Myanmar has been working to reduce illegal logging and wildlife poaching in Tanintharyi by supporting local businesses and helping communities to develop sustainable livelihoods using community forestry and non-timber forest products.
MORE FROM THE FIELD
THE ELEPHANT NEAR THE ROOM
In the early hours of an ordinary night in Myanmar, the earth beneath one town began to tremble. Saw Kyaw Naing Soe opened his eyes in the darkness, listened for a moment, and then closed them again with a murmur… “The elephants are back.”
All over the world there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for our planet.