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...
May 20, 2014

Spreading the Word on Community Action

The 3D model of Ulu Papar
The 3D model of Ulu Papar

In our last update, we reported on the continued collaboration among the community of Buayan and several external groups. Their passion and commitment for Ulu Papar, we are happy to report, have not waned. In this report, we bring you up to speed on developments with three different partners.

Intense planning is now underway for an upcoming visit by Japanese students from Gakushuin University to Buayan later this year. This visit will be the third of its kind under the university’s Dissolva Borneo Project. As in two earlier visits, strong focus is being placed on learning about and experiencing the local, indigenous culture, while lending a helping hand in task-specific projects.

In March this year, two Buayan community researchers were invited under the Gakushuin International Culture and Community Exchange Programme to visit Japan, alongside a representative from Universiti Malaysia Sabah. This visit successfully opened a direct channel of communications for the young people involved. They exchanged fruitful ideas, including the establishment of a ‘youth committee’ to plan for future exchanges. Following discussions with Arkitrek, the organization coordinating construction of the Bio-cultural Heritage Centre, a programme is now in place for the Japanese student group visit in August. They will participate in putting some final touches on the Centre.

Arkitrek continues in the realm of the construction of the Centre in Buayan (see their post on Ulu Papar Sustainable Livelihoods Programme). In addition, due to their involvement with other communities throughout Sabah, they have now opened up a new opportunity for engagement. Given their training in participatory research techniques, three community researchers from Buayan have been invited by Arkitrek to share their knowledge and experience on community-based mapping with an island community in Sabah. For the Buayan community (part of the larger area called Ulu Papar), learning this technique has resulted in the creation of 3D maps highlighting important traditional, customary and sacred landmarks in their area, and has been used as a tool in advocating for the protection of lands in Ulu Papar. The opportunity to share this knowledge with other indigenous communities is a step towards strengthening the voices of communities in Sabah; we hope to share this with you in future updates.

To end, we would like to thank our GlobalGiving supporters, who provide the much-needed funds to carry out activities on the ground, and all the organisations who continue to support the Ulu Papar community through ongoing engagement and encouragement.

Photo captions:

The 3D Model of Ulu Papar: The building of the Ulu Papar 3D model a few years ago, features sacred sites among other localities.

Community sharing on participatory mapping: A community researcher from Buayan introduces the concept of Participatory 3D Mapping to the Bundu Tuhan community; an earlier experience of ‘sharing’ knowledge and skills in participatory research methods with other communities.

Community sharing on participatory mapping
Community sharing on participatory mapping

Links:

Mar 31, 2014

Overview: Gardens at Three Sites in Morocco

Maintaining the garden landscape
Maintaining the garden landscape

For three days in March, two gardeners weeded and cleaned the garden of Lalla Aouda Saadia, improving growing conditions for the newly planted aromatic and ornamental plants. The uninviting old cement garden benches were also painted, adding colour and vibrancy to the garden. These activities were supported through a grant from The Global Diversity Foundation, a show of continued support at this time of transition to make way for school authorities and students to carry on efforts to maintain their restored school garden on their own.

School gardens in other parts of Morroco are also undergoing varying types of facelifts. At Dar Taliba Ourika, a gardener toiled for nine days to work the the ground marked for an ethnobotanical garden. The soil at Dar Taliba is very fertile but infested with weeds, particularly Cynodon dactylon (Njem) which is unfavorable to the growth of plants. The only way to get rid of the weeds is by tilling the soil to get rid of the roots over several months. Work is still in progress, and is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Alain Cuerrier of the Montreal Botanical Garden.

Realising the need to create attractive green spaces for their university students, officials from the Association Dar Chichaoua, an institution in Marrakech currently hosting 344 university students (all girls) from the city of Chichaoua, invited GDF to organise and oversee the construction of a small garden for the girls, a project funded by a group of Canadians. The revamped garden now features ten new metal benches, five citrus tress (bigaradiers) and a fountain in the middle of the garden.

Mar 4, 2014

Finalists compete for places in GESA 2014

GESA 2012 alum, Antonia Barreau Daly (far right)
GESA 2012 alum, Antonia Barreau Daly (far right)

We are making progress in choosing the emerging environmental leaders who will attend the fourth Global Environments Summer Academy, which will take place at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern between July 26th and August 15th of this year. Over three months, from late 2013 to early 2014, we received over 300 impressive applications from aspiring environmentalists in 75 countries. A panel of ten reviewers diligently read the applications of shortlisted candidates, allowing us to make the tough choice of who would advance.

The finalists, from 38 countries, are now vying for the 18-21 spaces available through an ongoing process that emphasizes the need to attain a balance of men and women, regions, academic backgrounds and research interests in the Academy. The response this year reveals that interest in GESA is expanding to new parts of the world: 19 countries in Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe), Asia (Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam), Europe (Croatia, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland), Latin America & the Caribbean (Belize, Dominican Republic and Guatemala) and the Pacific (Fiji) are represented for the very first time in our group of finalists.

The diversity of interests of this group, spanning agrobiodiversity, conflict resolution, environmental history, natural resource management, gender and environment, renewable energy, sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing and many more topics, is ensuring that GESA 2014 will be an avenue to explore the most critical contemporary environmental issues from multiple perspectives.

Over the next week, we are trying to raise £5000 to provide fee waivers for three GESA participants, one each from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Please give us a hand! Make a donation starting now, and please share this link with your friends. We are competing for a cash bonus of £1,000 by generating the largest amount donated and a special £500 bonus by getting the greatest number of unique donations by the end of the week. The bonus week will last until March 10th 11:59 am GMT, so please make your donation before then.

Photos of GESA alumni

  1. GESA 2012 alum, Antonia Barreau Daly (far right), from Chile, is currently exploring the relationships between food sovereignty and accessibility to forests for Mapuche families inhabiting the Andean temperate forests of southern Chile as part of her MSc research.
  2. GESA 2013 alum, Thiago Gomes from Brazil, carries out research on social-ecological change and local strategies for resource management and conservation in the Laklãnõ (Xokleng) Indigenous Territory, Upper Itajaí Valley, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

  3. As Founder-Director of the non-profit organization “Planeta Océano”, GESA 2012 alum, Kerstin Forsberg from Peru, leads community-based marine research, environmental education and participatory sustainable development initiatives in Peru.

GESA 2013 alum, Thiago Gomes, from Brazil
GESA 2013 alum, Thiago Gomes, from Brazil
GESA 2012 alum, Kerstin Forsberg, from Peru
GESA 2012 alum, Kerstin Forsberg, from Peru
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