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...
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
Feb 11, 2014

The Way Forward: Community in Action

Buayan girls; faces of the future
Buayan girls; faces of the future

As construction of the first stage of the Biocultural Heritage Centre in Buayan village comes to an end, we would like to send a special thank you to those who supported this project.

This Centre is not just a building. Original plans laid out a few years ago defined the Centre as ‘a communally owned and managed resource centre’; it was ambitious, yes, but the progress since then has shown us it is something that can be achieved. Enthusiastic youth from Buayan are now taking steps to reenergise a legally registered community entity that will provide formal grounds for the community to take matters into their own hands. For example, a legal entity enables the community to effectively engage with individuals and organisations who believe in and will support the upholding of their traditional values.

A collaboration already exists between the Buayan community with Gakushuin University in Japan under the Dissolva Borneo Project. With their third annual visit being planned for the later part of this year, a team of community collaborators sanctioned by Tungkusan (the name of the community body in Buayan) could play a much greater role in all aspects of the visit. This includes designing community outreach programmes for the Japanese students to take part in; engaging with service professionals such as Arkitrek, which currently leads all aspects of design and build of the Centre, to create an extension to the current project; and collaborating with educational institutions such as Universiti Malaysia Sabah, which played a key role in promoting Ulu Papar to the Japanese university. Beyond that, as an officially recognised entity, the community can also seek further support by developing and managing fundraising campaigns for the long-term continuity of community-driven initiatives to improve their livelihoods while protecting their precious heritage.

Progress is well underway, with ongoing encouragement, both locally and from abroad, and with on-site developments, both tangible (the construction of the Centre) and intangible (community capacity building in conducting workshops; read this blog post by one of the participants on the first workshop, a second workshop is being planned for 22nd February).

Today (Wednesday, 12th February) is GlobalGiving’s first Bonus Day this year. If you’d like to consider making another donation to boost community action in Buayan, please do take advantage of the 30% in matching funds offered by GlobalGiving. Matching is available from 9 am EST (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20140212T09&p1=263 or until funds run out or 11:59 pm EST (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20140212T2355&p1=263).

Dec 18, 2013

Greenery everywhere: A Lalla Aouda Saadia Update

Duranta erecta shrubs lined up along the paths
Duranta erecta shrubs lined up along the paths

It is truly a pleasure to report the completion of the third and final phase of the rehabilitation of the Lalla Aouda Saadia High School garden. Four gardeners worked in October and November on the garden, further enhancing the school’s central courtyard as a welcome green space for the high school girls.

The new metal benches were first covered with an antirust coat, followed by a soothing green paint that blends nicely with the garden environment. Duranta erecta shrubs were planted all around the edge of the garden and over time they will be pruned into a natural hedge. The plot earlier set out and reserved for a small aromatic plant garden is now filled with basil, geranium, iris, lavender, lemon verbena, marjoram, sage, santolina, thyme and wormwood. Various ornamental plants, including atriplex, bougainvillea, hibiscus, oleander, plumbago, roses, and pennisetum and stipa grasses are featured throughout the garden. The greenery is now well established, and will be maintained by an irrigation system that effectively reaches each and every plant.  We have left open spaces for small gardening projects, such as a demonstration plot of local fruits and vegetables, that can be carried out by the school’s environmental club and other groups.

GDF will continue to support the upkeep of the school garden over the coming months, giving administrative staff, teachers and students at Lalla Aouda Saadia time to establish an ongoing program to protect and expand this small but important green patch in Marrakech. We are positive that they will strive to upkeep the garden. As Charlotte Burrows, a GlobalGiving representative who visited the project and interviewed some of the girls wrote in a recent blog post, "The girls I spoke with were incredibly grateful they now have such a haven in which to read and relax, and the teachers I spoke with were thrilled that the girls no longer wander outside the school gates meeting boys…" In many ways, the garden now resembles the impressions that some of the students created at the very beginning of the project three years ago.

Now that our efforts at Lalla Aouda Saadia High School are winding down, we would like to give a sneak preview of our other Regreening the Medina projects. In this and future reports, we will provide glimpses of our efforts to develop other school gardens in the Marrakech medina and nearby rural areas. Let’s start with the Dar Taliba girl's boarding house in Ourika, in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. As part of our Educate 1300 Girls by Restoring Marrakech Gardens project, we are supporting the development of gardens and an herbarium of useful plants collected by the girls from Amazigh villages who board here, serving as a platform to educate the students on traditional ethnobotanical knowledge and practice. Stay tuned!

The students busily planting the Duranta erecta.
The students busily planting the Duranta erecta.
In the ground and watered: a hedge in the making.
In the ground and watered: a hedge in the making.
A hired gardener weeds the garden
A hired gardener weeds the garden
Drawing of a
Drawing of a 'perfect school garden'
The Dar Taliba herbarium
The Dar Taliba herbarium

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