I am a Dusun from Sabah who lives in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. The village I am from, Bundu Tuhan, sits on 1,255 hectares of Native Reserve, two-thirds of which has been set aside as a community forest that is governed through a village management plan. With its natural surroundings and the majestic Mount Kinabalu, the view from my village is always serene. Historically, our community depended on the forest as a source of food, medicines and building materials. Presently, our village leaders, and community as a whole (there are approximately 3,400 people living in Bundu Tuhan now) continue to protect the forest as part of our heritage.
As someone from the 'younger generation' and in my role as a community researcher, I am involved in many activities to protect our community forest, and the cultural heritage and traditions of Bundu Tuhan. Our leaders play a strong role in inspiring us, encouraging us to work with external partners such as the Global Diversity Foundation who provided technical training and advice.
In a team and with other members of our community,
- We created a 3D map of our village, with help from secondary school students, using research results (borders were identified through GPS readings and GIS application)
- We continue to create interesting outreach materials about our connection with the environment - for example, a short video, brochures, photos (an awareness exhibition was held in a shopping mall in the State's capital in July 2010 to showcase these photos). *please follow the YouTube link of a video we made recently on our cultural heritage and traditions
- We create awareness about the conservation status of our community forest while conducting household interviews.
As a community researcher, I have been trained in various research and outreach techniques - photography and participatory videography, household interview techniques, and community mapping (application of GPS and Participatory 3-Dimension Modelling (P3DM) - which help us produce results useful for our community. The thing I am most interested in is research methods involving photography and filmmaking. This allows us to develop attractive materials to raise awareness about our valuable biocultural heritage.
We are all proud of the acknowledgement given - during the Sabah Environmental Awards in September 2011, we received the Ministers Special Award from Datuk Masidi Manjun, Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment. This was in recognition of our collective efforts as a community in preserving the environment and establishing community forests. We are happy and proud to help in conservation efforts and hope that these efforts will grow from strength to strength; in my hope, particularly among the younger generation. That includes me.
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GDF International Program Director