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Pressing on with forest and land fire education for communities in remote areas despite COVID-19

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 4 minute read SMART 536 views

Jakarta, 14 August 2020 – In anticipation of the years’ dry season along with increasing risk of forest and land fire that it carries in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is turning to video conference technology, such as Skype, to help teachers raise children’s awareness of forest and land fire prevention.

In the last two weeks, the Company’s education practitioners have organised a series of virtual workshops on forest and land fire prevention for more than 400 teachers in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua employing video conference technology.

The workshop is meant to help teachers in remote areas with limited information access, by providing them education materials on forest and land fire prevention. It will also impart new skillsets for presenting the materials in a fun manner to excite their students.

“At first, we planned to hold direct, face-to-face workshops for teachers in areas prone to forest and land fire. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we figured the best way the workshop could still take place was virtually. This way, we continue our work in helping children be aware of hazards that forest and land fires bring, as well as how to prevent it. When the pandemic ends, we will follow it up with relevant activities on the ground,” explained Donni Indra, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, who is leading the education programme.

To attend the workshop, each participant receives a link sent by the organising committee through which they access a virtual conference room on their device. Participants with internet connectivity issues are able to join the workshop from our plantation offices, under a strict COVID-19 protocol.

The workshops last for two hours, with training materials aimed at both primary and middle school teachers. Materials presented are taken from Rumbun dan Sahabat Rimba, which is a storybook we launched earlier this year. The book tells of the adventure of four friends in preventing forest and land fires, and is available in both English and Bahasa Indonesia

“As teachers from Papua, we also need to improve our knowledge on forest and land fire prevention. Moreover, forests are fundamental to local communities’ life in Papua. Besides supplying oxygen, forests have become an integral part of our culture,” explained a participant from Papua named Afni Bagunda.

Highly varied internet connection in Kalimantan and Papua compared to that of Sumatera posed its own challenge. Before our sessions in those locations, the committee had to conduct network testing 10 days prior to the event and prepared several scenarios to ensure that everything would work well on the day of the workshop.


Going forward, the Company will continue its engagement with the teachers through daily tips sent via WhatsApp, to ensure they receive adequate support in putting lessons learned from the workshop into

“The Company’s commitment and efforts in preventing forest and land fires will keep going strong. We started this forest and land fire prevention programme in 2016 with the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) programme that was targeted to adults. The programme has successfully reduced the number of hot spots and fire spots significantly in areas within and around the Company’s concessions,” said Pak Agus Purnomo, the Company’s Managing Director of Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement.

Agus continued, “And today, we have expanded the fire prevention programme into education efforts for children. Through this virtual workshop, we hope what the teachers learn can be implemented in schools so that children, as future leaders, fully appreciate the dangers of forest and land fires as well as play an active role in preventing them. ”

The storybook Rumbun dan Sahabat Rimba and other educational materials are available online and can be downloaded from:




About Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food

In Indonesia, all Golden Agri-Resources’ (GAR’s) palm oil related businesses operate under the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food brand. Outside of Indonesia, the majority of GAR-owned entities operate under the GAR brand. When talking about GAR’s total business interests in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is used.

Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food operates with a total planting area in Indonesia reaching more than 495,247 hectares (including plasma smallholders) as at 30 September 2019, located in Indonesia. It has integrated operations focused on the production of palm-based edible oil and fat. Focus on sustainable palm oil production, its primary activities in Indonesia include cultivating and harvesting of oil palm trees; processing of fresh fruit bunch into crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel; refining CPO into value-added products such as cooking oil, margarine, shortening, biodiesel and oleo-chemicals; as well as merchandising palm products throughout the world. It also has operations in China and India including a deep-sea port, oilseeds crushing plant, production capabilities for refined edible oil products as well as other food products such as noodles.

Founded in 1996, GAR was listed on the Singapore Exchange in 1999 and has a market capitalisation of US$2.1 billion as at 30 September 2019. Flambo International Limited, an investment company, is currently GAR’s largest shareholder, with a 50.35 percent stake. GAR has several subsidiaries, including PT SMART Tbk which was listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange in 1992. GAR is focused on responsible palm oil production.

For more information about Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, visit


For more information, please contact
[email protected]

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