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...
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
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.

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