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 15, 2013

Regreening 1800 square meters of garden space

Pruned Seville sour orange trees
Pruned Seville sour orange trees

After months of preparation and three weeks of intense work, we are happy to report that the initial stage of the Lalla Aouda Saadia garden’s rehabilitation is complete. Our current focus is the regreening of 1800 square meters of prime garden space at the heart of the school grounds. We started with the irrigation system: a technician repaired the pump’s electrical panel and fixed all of the damaged pipes. Well water is now ready to be distributed throughout the garden. Then the 54 Seville sour orange trees in the garden were pruned to allow more sunlight to reach the ground, which has been fertilized and leveled.

The girls actively participated in the restoration of their green space. Since the space is for and by them, changes in the garden are carried out only by consensus and with their consent. Supported by GDF, a landscape architect is currently drafting design proposals. The design that is chosen by the girls and the school staff will be the basis of the next stage of the garden’s rehabilitation. The proposals include creating a new fountain in the middle of the plot, laying out pathways leading to it and expanding the underground irrigation system. Aromatic herbs and ornamental plants could be cultivated in the garden beds among the paths.

Prior to the renovation, the orange trees were the only plants in the garden, but GDF is now ensuring the garden will be home to a wider variety of species chosen by the students. It will have a dynamic educational purpose in addition to being ornamental: the girls will learn about the traditional medicinal uses of the plants and how to care for the herbs and trees. Mohamed El Haouzi, GDF’s field coordinator who is in charge of the project, has noticed another impact: the staff and students of Lalla Aouda Saadia are cleaning and planting other areas of the school grounds.

(Edited by Thaïs Martin)

Images:

The pruned Seville sour orange trees are spread elegantly across the garden, providing fragrance and shade. (Photo: Thaïs Martin)

The rehabilitation was carried out with manual labor and local equipment including this wheelbarrow. (Photo: Gary Martin)

The condition of the garden before pruning of the Seville sour orange trees began.

Rehabilitation carried out with local equipment
Rehabilitation carried out with local equipment
Before pruning began
Before pruning began
May 9, 2013

Community Researchers Plan Own Activities

Village elder, a holder of important knowledge
Village elder, a holder of important knowledge

Community researchers from the village of Buayan in Ulu Papar worked together to develop proposals in a bid to learn more about the cultural treasures that have remained concealed within the minds of the older generation in Buayan and the villages nearby. Two activities have been planned involving interviews with village elders to discover the legends that once governed the actions and behaviour of their Ulu Papar ancestors, and learning from skilled handicraft makers the techniques used to produce traditional crafts.

Building on the 8 years of work that began in 2004 in Sabah to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the biocultural and historical significance of Ulu Papar among the Ulu Papar community and beyond, the planning process used by this small group of researchers can be said to be an achievement in its own right. With increasing autonomy from the Global Diversity Foundation, the NGO that worked closely with the Ulu Papar community to build their skills in research and outreach, the community researchers showed promise in their ability to plan their own activities to promote the preservation of their biocultural heritage.

These proposed activities are tied in with the Buayan Biocultural Heritage Centre, the construction of which should be underway by July as part of a project facilitated by Arkitrek, an organisation of experts in sustainable design that is engaging with students from Malaysia, the U.K. and Japan, and the community of Ulu Papar throughout the planning, design and construction stages. Expected to be completed in August this year, the centre will become the focus for the community researchers’ activities, serving as a venue that allows information to be shared among the community as well as to those who venture to the scenic village of Buayan.

 

Images (by Inanc Tekguc)

Village elder: Village elders in Ulu Papar hold the key to a vast amount of traditional knowledge which needs to be passed down to the younger generation.

Ulu Papar natural environment: The environment in Ulu Papar is not only a source of raw materials to make local handicrafts, but a source of food, irrigation and medicine for the local community. 

Raw materials for handicrafts come from nature
Raw materials for handicrafts come from nature

Links:

Feb 20, 2013

Growing the Marrakech School Garden project

Ecole Abou Firass garden
Ecole Abou Firass garden

The new year brought a new director to the Lalla Aouda Saadia high school. He is now settling into his post, and has met twice with Mohamed El Haouzi, GDF’s Director of Projects in Marrakech. While they proceed with the consultations necessary to continue with our original garden, Mohamed has been approached by directors and teachers of many other schools – in Marrakech and its environs – who heard about our efforts and wish to rehabilitate their grounds. We are excited by this expanding interest in our ‘edible and ornamental schoolyards’ approach, and have decided to broaden our project to include primary, middle and high schools. Now we have children and young adults from 6 to 18 years old involved in our project.

In this and future reports, we will tell you about some of these new projects, while keeping you posted on developments at the Lalla Aouda Saadia high school. One school we are eager to assist is the Ecole Abou Firass primary school in the Marrakech medina. As you can see in the picture, the school staff has already prepared the garden for planting. Now that spring is arriving in Marrakech, GDF is ready to buy plants so the school director and teachers can roll up their sleeves and start planting.

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