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...
Jan 8, 2016

GDF Organizes Two Creative & Educational Workshops for Girls at Dar Taliba

The garden as imagined by girls from Takatart.
The garden as imagined by girls from Takatart.

During the past three months, Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) organized two workshops at Dar Taliba, involving the girls housed at the institution in hands on creative and educational activities.


Irene Teixidor Toneu, a Ph.D student from the University of Reading in the UK who is researching medicinal plant use in the High Atlas, led the first workshop on October 14th 2015. It tied into GDF’s current plans for a permaculture ethnobotanical garden at Dar Taliba and gave the girls the opportunity to actively contribute to the design and plans for the garden. The girls were encouraged to use their imagination and work in teams based on the villages of the High Atlas they come from. The result was colorful diagrams and drawings as well as a list of plants cultivated in each of the villages represented by the girls, and that they wish to include in the ethnobotanical garden. This workshop also had an educational aspect as Irene encouraged the girls to think about what made particular plants ethnobotanical or useful to people. Relying on an interactive method, she asked the girls to describe and list the different uses of the region’s most popular plants and then explained some of the basic chemical or physical properties that make these useful to human beings. Irene was a great fit for this workshop because she has spent many months living with communities in the High Atlas while conducting fieldwork and is very well versed in the ethnobotanical landscape of the region. She is also familiar with plant names in the girls’ native language, Amazigh. Meeting her also exposed the girls to one of the many applications of ethnobotany and the career opportunities the field holds.


The second workshop took place on December 16th and was led by Said Taj, a local florist and artist who often works with nonprofits and leads creative workshops for children. During his day-long workshop, he worked with 6 different groups of up to 20 girls to make floral head wreaths using a variety of common local plants; some of these were harvested from Dar Taliba’s gardens, including raffia palm, roses, oleander, bougainvillea, chamaerops palm and carob leaves. Said introduced the girls to some of the basics of ornamental plants including the symbolism associated with different colors and taught them how to make tissue paper flowers. This hands-on workshop gave the girls an opportunity to be creative and have fun as well as brought them a new-found appreciation of ornamental plants they are familiar with. It also exposed them to one of the many plant-related vocations: floristry.


By bringing activities like the Floral Wreath Making workshop and Ethnobotanical Plants garden planning session to Dar Taliba, Global Diversity Foundation is making opportunities most often unavailable to rural and underprivileged children accessible to the girls residing at the boarding house. This is an important aspect of GDF’s mission to maintain and support ethnobotanical knowledge and biodiversity in the communities most dependent on their local flora for both cultural and livelihood purposes.


Donating to our Global Giving campaign allows GDF to continue broadening horizons for the girls at Dar Taliba and enables the foundation to actively contribute to the valorization of environmental stewardship in the High Atlas. Thank you for your support!

Dar Taliba girls having fun making floral wreaths.
Dar Taliba girls having fun making floral wreaths.
Saida, supervisor at Dar Taliba, participated too.
Saida, supervisor at Dar Taliba, participated too.
Dar Taliba girls learning from Florist Said Taj.
Dar Taliba girls learning from Florist Said Taj.

Links:

Jan 7, 2016

Celebrating a year of growth and connection

Mirror walk: opening up to see with other senses.
Mirror walk: opening up to see with other senses.

The Global Environments Network did beautiful work in 2015, nurtured by your support. WIth this report, we'd like to celebrate a few achievements and voices from the past year.

Year in review

In August, we completed our fifth Global Environments Summer Academy. In June, North American indigenous GESA alumni Darcie (GESA 2012), Kaylena (GESA 2013), in collaboration with GDF staff and board members, co-led our second North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange (NACELE). We convened indigenous environmental professionals and practitioners at the Montreal Botanical Garden under the theme Nourishing Relations, People, Plants and Place.

In November, four GESA alumni, Antonia (Chile, GESA 2012), Daniel (Dominican Republic, GESA 2014), Yolanda (Mexico, GESA 2014) and Ana Elia, (Spain, GESA 2014) developed the first Regional Academy, the Academia Latinoamericano de Liderazgo Socioambiental (ALLSA), held in Spanish in the Dominican Republic. They gathered under the theme Transformative environmental education: Our relationship to biocultural landscapes. All three events brought people together in extraordinary, intensive moments of peer-to-peer learning and the exchange of ideas, strategies and techniques. Through these gatherings, participants were woven into an ever-richer and more resilient network. 

In their own words

Participants and staff reflected on each of this year's gatherings, as follows:

"GESA is not so much a summer school focused on environmental issues as it is a space to reconnect with ourselves, others, and the earth." - Karlis (Latvia)

"This work is often tough, lonely, and challenging. I recognize the importance of time for balance and wellness... and of having the collaboration of non-native allies." --Monaeka (Guam)

And returning home from the inspiring experience of ALLSA in November, Gary Martin, GDF Director and founder of the Global Environments Network, shared this: "This sign from the permaculture space at the venue, Rancho Baiguate, sums it up: 'We are in a process of transformation to achieve sustainability... we are moving from the conventional to sowing with conscience.'" (See photo 4, below.)

Our thanks

We are so proud of the ongoing collaborative work and achievements of GESA alumni. As we enter a new year, we recognize and celebrate these processes of transformation, connection, and renewal. Gifts like yours are what make them possible. Thank you for your help in this work towards a world of biocultural diversity, sovereignty and justice.

__

Photo 1: Camila (Chile) guides Bladimil (Dominican Republic) during an ALLSA exercise to experience the natural world with all the senses in Jarabacoa, Domincan Republic.

Photo 2: Shirley, cedar basketweaver from Skwxwú7amesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), and Richard, Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk), pose with their craft during our NACELE visit to his studio in Kahnawà:ke, outside Montreal, Canada.

Photo 3: Janelle smudges Angela with white sage from Alberta, Canada during an early morning creative prelude in Bern, Switzerland.

Photo 4: See text, above.

Photo 5: ALLSA organizers Antonia (Chile, GESA 2012), Daniel (Dominican Republic, GESA 2014), Yolanda (Mexico, GESA 2014) and Ana Elia, (Spain, GESA 2014), tired but happy at the end of a successful first regional academy.

West Coast meets East Coast in woven headwear.
West Coast meets East Coast in woven headwear.
Sharing practices of connection and renewal.
Sharing practices of connection and renewal.
"We are in a process of transformation..."
"We are in a process of transformation..."
ALLSA organizers, tired but happy!
ALLSA organizers, tired but happy!

Links:

Jan 6, 2016

Bridging oral tradition and written history

[1] Why Kadui and Sidui?
[1] Why Kadui and Sidui?

Oral histories are loosely defined as stories that living individuals, often older members of a family or community, tell about their past, or that of others. The State Library of Western Australia, discussing Aboriginal knowledge systems, calls oral histories the “bridge between oral tradition and written history”. Worldwide, efforts are escalating to capture indigenous oral histories through interviews with community elders, building their voices by sharing their memories, ensuring unique stories are not forgotten.

In Sabah, three consecutive co-inquiry projects with Dusun communities living in the Crocker Range produced research on patterns of local resource use, valuation of landscapes, transmission of indigenous ecological knowledge, and the impact of subsistence strategies on areas adjacent to, or inside, protected areas. Community elders, prompted by local researchers trained over the 8 years of the projects, came forward to reveal tales of heroism and describe events explaining the origins of place names and sacred sites.

Jenny, a community researcher from the remote village of Buayan in the Crocker Range who participated in the projects, continues to advocate for the wellbeing of her community and the preservation of her heritage. Around two years ago, she developed an initiative to add to the list of oral histories already documented through the earlier projects. She interviewed community elders and transcribed these interviews. Armed with three additional stories, she then set out to design multi-lingual posters for each story and a booklet compilation of the stories, using artwork created by Imelda, a university student who also hails from Buayan.

Here are a few short glimpses of two of the oral histories. Interviews were carried out and first documented in the Dusun language; some have already been translated into Malay and English.

"Why Kadui and Sidui?"

[1] “During a time of war between the villages of Kionop and Tiku, two brothers from Kionop village, Sidui and Kadui, were known to be the strongest and most feared warriors.”

[2] “Kadui and Sidui hid themselves and watched quietly, letting Lumingou and Binagal pass them without making any contact.”

[Told by: Angeline Dingon; Documented by: Jiloris Henry]

"Liwat’s Stone"

[1] “Three people – a man named Liwat, the woman he was recently engaged to, and her younger brother, were traveling one day a very long time ago from Kosungu Village, where Liwat was from, to Tudan Buayan, the village of his fiancée.”

[2] “Sudden flashes of lightning occurred, followed by very loud thunder. Liwat and his fiancee turned into stone, as did the equipment they had with them.”

[Told by: Gorumpang Matanggim; Documented by: Jenny]

"How did Buayan get its Name?" (draft poster)

[Told by: Linggui Lunduan; Documented by: Therisia John; Artwork by: Imelda, Anne Sipanis; Poster design by: Jenny]

Jenny’s work on her mini-project was exclusively supported by donations made through GlobalGiving. She is now working with Imelda to see this initiative through to its publication, facilitated by Shinobu Majima from Gakushuin University, Japan, through their outreach programme, DISSOLVA. For the last four years, Shinobu has led visiting student groups to Buayan who participated in Dusun community initiatives. DISSOLVA has pledged to support the printing costs of an oral histories publication for the Dusun communities in Ulu Papar.

[2] Why Kadui and Sidui?
[2] Why Kadui and Sidui?
[1] Liwat
[1] Liwat's Stone
[2] Liwat
[2] Liwat's Stone
How did Buayan get its name?
How did Buayan get its name?

Links:

 
   

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