The European region of the IRF was well represented at the WRC Nepal with almost all our ERF member associations sending delegates. Many were regular attenders at this event whilst some were there for the first time. One such “newbie” was Luso Dostibegiani from Algeti NP Georgia. Luso had been sponsored to attend the WRC by CMA and other donors. This is her report.

“I want to summarize activities and impressions from WRC Nepal. This period will be forever recorded as one of the most important stories of my life.

The first day was dedicated to the opening of the Congress with the participation of representatives of the Government of Nepal and the different Ranger Associations, followed by various parallel sessions. I attended Sean Willmore’s session on Ranger Support Projects. Afterwards I listened to the report of the Thin Green Line Foundation. The evening was accompanied by presentations and a warm hearted welcome.

Sean, Luso and Gordon

The next day, I visited the session “Rangers and Local Communities” and the seminar “Junior Ranger Programme” organized by Swiss Rangers.

On the third day, we had a jeep tour in Chitwan National Park jungle. Thereafter I went on to attend a session with Australian colleagues on “Fire Management Strategy to protect Biodiversity and Communities”. They shared their experience and materials, which will enable us to organize educational training in Georgia. Moreover, Fire Ground is open for cooperation and support.

Together with Linda Nunn, the Chairman of the Countryside Management Association (CMA) and also the new Vice-President of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), we worked on an application for the Ranger Association of Georgia to become a full member of the IRF.

On the same day at the seminar “Capacity Building – European Experience with Train the Trainer (T-t-T) Courses”, I shared my experience gained in the T-t-T meeting in Switzerland.

On the fourth morning, we went into the jungle by boat following which I participated in a session on the ’’Ranger Associations and their Role’’. I also listened to various presentations by women rangers. Further, I made a presentation on my own work and about the four other female rangers working for the Agency for Protected Areas in Georgia. My presentation was appreciated a lot and I got amazing feedback. Many rangers came even 2 days later to express their interest in Georgia. In addition, many even suggested ideas for collaborative projects.

On the fifth day, I participated in the meeting of the IRF European Region. During the closing ceremony of the congress, it was announced that Georgia was now accepted as a member of the International Ranger Federation and thus also a member of the European Ranger Federation. The World Congress of Rangers takes place every three years and at the same congress a new International Executive Committee is elected. Of course, Georgia participated in these elections and expressed our opinion.

Newly elected IRF members including Luso from Georgia

My overall impression of the Congress was that it was interesting to meet rangers and environmental organizations from all over the world and to get to know each other and exchange each other’s work, projects, problems, and solutions. But most importantly, we were together for 5 days, which gave us more motivation to continue our work with a stronger commitment after returning home”.

Luso Dostibegiani
Algeti National Park; Georgia.