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You may be confused when you hear that a pulp and paper company conducts a training program for students to learn how to grow vegetables and rear cattle – far removed from the paper production business.

But this is exactly what APRIL does for students in Kerinci and surrounding areas in Indonesia – all in a bid to help create more qualified human resources overall in the country, supporting several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals along the way.

By running its ‘On the Job’ Training Program, APRIL gives students the opportunity to hone their farming knowledge at APRIL’s Integrated Training and Business Development Centre over a period of three months.

“Students are taught to run and analyze their businesses – in agriculture or livestock – including selling their harvests at the end,” said Gading, APRIL’s Community Development Coordinator.

APRIL’s Fire Free Village Program (FFVP) is a three-stage fire prevention program which aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of land burning among local communities in Riau, Indonesia.

In 2015, fires throughout Indonesia during the annual “burning season” resulted in record haze concentrations, with the negative environmental and health impacts of the incident drawing both local and international attention.

That same year, APRIL launched the FFVP with the realization that a longer-term solution is required for fire awareness and supression in Indonesia, identifying and working with nine high fire risk villages in a pilot project.

The villages which had joined the FFVP recorded a 90 per cent reduction in burnt areas that year. This success then spurred the program’s expansion to cover 18 communities.

Launched in July 2015, APRIL's Fire Free Village Program (FFVP) is a fire prevention project which aims to educate and raise awareness about the negative impacts of land burning among local communities in Riau, Indonesia.

The FFVP comprises a three-stage programme which supports communities in developing their social and economic capabilities – all without using the traditional method of using fire as a tool to clear and prepare land.

The three stages are 'Fire Aware Community' (FAC), 'Fire Free Village' (FFV), and 'Fire Resilient Community' (FRC).

Fire Training start with Briefing

2017 was a successful year for the fire prevention team at APRIL. The annual dry season passed with no major incidents on the company’s own land, and a significant reduction in fire in local communities that are part of the Fire Free Village Program.

But preventing fire – and the haze that affected much of Southeast Asia in 2015 – is a continuous effort, and complacency cannot be allowed to set in.

It’s with that in mind that the company’s fire team is training hard during the wet season so that it is ready for the dry summer months.

The fire prevention team consists of 1,125 full- and part-time staff, each of whom receives at least two weeks training a year, including simulated fires as well as practical and theoretical skills. The crews even trained with special forces from the Indonesian Air Force, learning survival techniques and how to navigate the sometimes harsh jungle environment.

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