Budding officers get trained in a novel way

Budding officers get trained in a novel way

Deputy Range Forest Officers (DRFO) on probation donned the roles of villagers, farmers, timber merchants, and teachers, for a day, to understand the concept of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Village Forest Committee (VFC) and Eco-Development Committees (EDC) and also to get ideas for strengthening these institutions.

This was a method devised by the Karnataka Forest Academy (KFA) to train budding forest officers on PRA techniques. PRA plays a major role in strengthening Village Forest Committees (VFC) as well as Eco-Development Committees (EDC). The models of PRA, such as social map, resource map, a geographical map of the village, timeline map, seasonal map, tree matrix, stakeholders group and problem analysis, were created, and the probationers enacted the roles of villagers, forest officials and other stakeholders.

The trainees were made to discuss the issues of the common people and to exchange their views. The programme was aimed to educate the trainees on the ways to combat illegal activities inside the forest, with the help of local people.

As many as 103 probationary Deputy Range Forest Officers (DRFO) are undergoing training on PRA at KFA, Yelwal, near here, for the past few days.

Madhuri Dalwai, a probationary DRFO from Belagavi, said, “I did not have much idea about PRA. Due to the practical touch, now, I am confident of handling the work without difficulty.”

She played the role of a senior citizen woman during the training session and explained about timeline map to fellow probationers. S Chandrashekar Achar, a faculty member at Karnataka Forest Academy,  said, in a bid to strengthen the committees, the officers concerned should be well aware of the villages, problems of the locals and must have the problem analysing skills. The department has been rejuvenating PFA techniques and the new model of training is effective to train the new officers. The institute had planned to rope in farmers for the event, but with the agricultural season underway, the programme had to be modified, he said.