Global Diversity Foundation

GDF has a dual mission. Through our regional programmes, we support indigenous peoples' and local communities' efforts to protect their biocultural diversity, and peacefully achieve just and autonomous decision-making regarding their territories, resources and futures. In collaboration with diverse institutions, we provide support for communities to elaborate their own research, development and advocacy programmes. Areas of specific focus depend on community interests, although they tend to be community access to lands and resources, community-led conservation, advocacy and campaigning for social and environmental justice, the continuity of ethnobiological and biocultural knowledge, and he...
Aug 26, 2014

Connecting with Japanese visitors through shared activities and crafts in Ulu Papar

Arriving in Buayan by 4WD
Arriving in Buayan by 4WD

The strong living biocultural heritage of Ulu Papar, and the welcoming and self-reflective character of the communities continues to build and strengthen connections, so that visitors tend to keep returning. Early last month, Shinobu from Gakushuin University once again headed into the depths of the Crocker Range, joined by local counterparts, including representatives from the local university, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and from Arkitrek, the social enterprise fundamental in the design and construction of the community-action centre in Buayan. Raymond, who hails from Buayan, acted as community liaison and guide during the visit.

The purpose? To finalise plans for the DISSOLVA 2014 Borneo Project, a Gakushuin International Culture and Community Exchange Programme that brought 16 Japanese students to Sabah from 7th – 24th August 2014. Why are we excited about this? As with their two earlier visits, this year’s schedule included a good mix of activities. The Japanese students trekked deep into the dense tropical rainforest of Borneo to live with, learn about, and try to integrate with local Dusun communities in two villages in the Crocker Range. There, they assisted with the completion of the Bio-cultural Heritage Centre in Buayan, a hub for future outreach, self-advocacy and learning activities.

It is interesting to learn of similarities between cultures in two countries set more than three thousand miles apart. As Shinobu noted, forwarding photos from her July trip to Buayan, “Flat baskets made of bamboo are also common in Japan”. She added then that her student group hoped to make these baskets while in Kalangaan Village, and use them in their planned daily activities. “They also planned to use these baskets for the dance they prepared to show before their departure from Kota Kinabalu,” she added.

We thank Shinobu for sharing her story, and for Gakushuin University’s ongoing interaction with and support for the Ulu Papar community. 

Additional note: 

VOTE NOW! The photo of a Dusun child from Bundu Tuhan, taken by GDF photographer, Inanc Tekguc, made it through to GlobalGiving's Photo Contest this year! This opens up a new way you can support this project; the project with the photo that receives the most votes by noon EDT on August 29 will be awarded a $1,000 bonus. Vote now (it takes less than 1 minute)! Click here, enter your e-mail address, and verify your vote! If you’d like to learn about the story behind this phoo, click here. Thank you!

Photo descriptions

Shinobu, second from right, with the others on the trip in front of the 4WD that ferried them to Buayan. The group took an 8-hour trek on the way out. 

With the main structure and internal walls of the Bio-cultural Heritage Centre put in place last year, this year’s aim set out was to add finishing touches, construct a toilet and introduce the design of a septic tank/phytoremediation system.

The community centre in Buayan
The community centre in Buayan
Woven baskets in Buayan
Woven baskets in Buayan
A Dusun child from Bundu Tuhan
A Dusun child from Bundu Tuhan
Jul 10, 2014

Visitors to our Garden Projects

Play time at Abdelmoumen
Play time at Abdelmoumen

In April 2014, Abdelmoumen College welcomed 11 visitors, comprising three teachers and eight students aged between 14 and 18 years old as part of an official visit from the Department of Children’s Services, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, UK. GDF coordinated the 4-day visit, from 22 to 25 April, allowing the foreign students to interact closely with the local students in activities encouraging healthy lifestyles. The students played football, basketball and volleyball, and worked hard together to rid the college herb garden of weeds and to plant new aromatic herbs and shrubs funded by donations received from our GlobalGiving supporters.

In a separate visit to another garden project, a group from the Pacific Horticulture Society headed to Dar Taliba on 16 May 2014. GDF Director, Gary Martin, is seen in the photo explaining the value and importance of the aromatic plants growing in the herb garden. This was followed by the planting of a Seville orange tree in the new Dar Taliba ethnobotanical garden by Katherine Greenberg, past president of the Mediterranean Garden Society and the Pacific Horticulture Society. The ethnobotanical garden, created in partnership with Alain Cuerrier of the Montreal Botanical Garden, will feature edible, medicinal and other useful plants that are important in Amazigh villages of the High Atlas mountains. The students from Dar Taliba will be able to take pride in recording the names and uses of the plants in their own communities in order to produce labels and a small booklet about the species cultivated in the garden. 

Working hard at Abdelmoumen
Working hard at Abdelmoumen
Briefing at Dar Taliba
Briefing at Dar Taliba
Planting a tree in the new garden at Dar Taliba
Planting a tree in the new garden at Dar Taliba
Jun 23, 2014

A window into GESA 2014: learning from Goethe, and meeting a Turkish filmmaker

Gemmi Lodge, venue for the opening retreat
Gemmi Lodge, venue for the opening retreat

We are proud to share some of what we have in store for this summer. Thanks to support from the Salvia Foundation, GESA 2014 will begin with a five-day retreat in the Swiss mountain town of Kandersteg. The Salvia Goethe Retreat, led by Emily Ryan, is titled Dynamic Engagement, a Goethean Approach to Connection. Its purpose is to ground the participants and the entire three-week academy in a profound connection and commitment to the natural world, inspired and informed by the majestic Alpine setting. Through the lens and application of the Goethean process, GESA participants will foster their capacity to experience the world holistically. Workshop activities will focus on generating self-reflective practice, establishing a strong learning community, sharing tools for creative resolution of conflicts arising from conservation and development, and exploring modes of socio-ecological resurgence and resilience. Participants will have the opportunity to get to know one another away from the bustle of the city, with time to make meals, take walks, and share stories together.

A word on our participants

Our group of finalists continue working, both in their home communities and institutions and through GlobalGiving, to raise funds to attend GESA 2014. We would like to profile one successful applicant, Eda Elif Tibet. Eda is an independent documentary filmmaker and visual anthropologist from Turkey whose passion for the cultural aspects of being human is depicted through her films. Her first documentary film, 28 Days on the Moon, pays homage to her ancestral roots in Cappadocia, Turkey, while advocating for local livelihoods in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Protected Area. This was closely followed by Amchi, a film that advocates for the transmission of traditional knowledge in rural areas of Ladakh in India.

Eda’s films have been screened both within her country and around the world, a growing testament to her aim to advocate for local livelihood rights and their conservation through ethical and anthropologically inspired film-making. Now in her first year of a PhD on Social Anthropology at the Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Eda continues working in film, currently developing a story on a nomadic family from the Sarkeçili tribe, who herd 500 goats in Southern Turkey. The goal of the film is to engage support to protect nomadic pastoralists' livelihood rights.

Visit our Participants page to learn more about Eda and the other emerging environmental changemakers lined up to attend GESA 2014.

GESA 2014 participant; Eda, a Turkish filmmaker
GESA 2014 participant; Eda, a Turkish filmmaker
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