“Because of FireWise, people are living in a community that is safe”

Manguzi is situated between the Swaziland and Mozambique borders.

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“FireWise came to our area in 2014. We were lucky. We had lots of fires. Due to the lack of knowledge, people start fires all the time, without a firebreak. There are long grasses that grow in our area after a lot of rain. There is also a lot of gum trees in our communities. A lot of the fires originate from the gum trees.”

 

“We are currently 65 members working in 5 teams. This is not enough. But we are grateful that people can at least put a plate of food on the table everyday as a result of FireWise.”

 

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“We would go door-to-door and meet with the households, doing awareness up close with people. Some people cannot walk to the bigger meetings. So now they can also be taught to understand that if there is grass around the house, the FireWise people can help to clear the grass. Also to help clean inside the house.”

 

“Manguzi is a hot area, very hot in summer. The grass is so dry, it is very easy for a fire to start.”

 

“We also have a lot of bees in the area. Young boys will go and start a fire to chase the bees away to get to the honey. And this is how a wildfire starts. Simple as that. So FireWise started a workshop for the young boys and now they know how to get the honey without the fire. As a result, unwanted fires started to go down in the area.”

 

“At first, the community did not understand what FireWise was about. There was a workshop to explain it to the community. After that it was easy, when people did door-to-door outreaches, not to feel intimidated or threatened. People now understand what FireWise is and will listen when the FireWise people come to their homes.”

 

“Unfortunately, it was dangerous around the border and we had to close that team.”

 

“But as a result of FireWise, people are living with their families in a community that is safe. Fires have gone down.”

 

I want to say, thank you FireWise, for being in our area. Thank you!” – Japan Tembe

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