Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The film “The enabling power of participatory 3D mapping among the Saramaccan People of Suriname” launched at CWA2014

Fifty years ago, some 5000 Saramaccan people of Suriname had to leave their traditional lands along the Suriname River due to the construction of a major dam. The wounds of this transmigration are still felt today. Meanwhile, the Saramaccans who live in the Upper Suriname River area face new challenges since their territorial rights are not yet officially recognized and road infrastructure to access the area is improving. Creating a 3D model of the area that tells the inside story of their traditions and land use can help them to overcome their sense of being misunderstood by decision-makers and rediscover their voice.

The 15 min video production “The enabling power of participatory 3D mapping among the Saramaccan People of Suriname” has been launched on October 9 at the 13th Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Paramaribo, Suriname. The launch occurred during the session “Maps as media in policy processes: Bringing the 3rd dimension to the negotiating table” in the presence of representatives from the Saramaccan community.

The launch was followed by reflections done by Saramaccan representatives Mr Godfried Adjako, one of the captains of the village of Kaajapati, and Ms Debora Linga who spent her infancy with her grandparents on their farm on the shores of the Brokopondo Reservoir and later on kept visiting them in Ginginston village along the banks of the Upper Suriname River.

Mr Godfried Adjako recalled that in the process of populating the 3D model the community, especially the youth, learned a lot from the elders. “The map now shows our life, the Earth we live on, the Earth we walk on, the Earth without which we cannot live.” “We can use the map to take decisions on where to locate future developments”, he added. Both men and women contributed to the map. “Women know a lot about the surrounding of the villages, while men who use to go hunting, know the most about far away areas.”

Mr Adjako stated that when developing the legend ahead of the mapping exercise, the community decided to omit sensitive and confidential information. Therefore the data contained in the model and currently being digitised by Tropenbos International Suriname (TBI) should be considered as publicly available.

The P3DM process has been a discovery journey for young Debora. “In the 60’s my grandparents had to resettle because their village had been submerged by the rising waters of the Brokopondo Reservoir. They resettled along the Upper Suriname River in a village called Ginginston where I grew up. I could not understand the reason why my grandfather kept on navigating a long way along the river to reach the shores of the lake where he was growing watermelon” she said. “I discovered the reason while chatting with an elder who explained to me that transmigrating families were welcome by Saramaccan villages uphill the lake, but were granted limited access to resources. In fact they were sort of borrowing the land from people who occupied it for generations. Thus they only had access to small farming areas. In Saramaccan this is how you feel: they were living on somebody else’s land.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Farmers and Indigenous Peoples in Palawan denounce controversial oil palm business

A web-press release by CALG (Coalition against Land Grabbing)

What development, for whom and what purposes, how and where, and with what implications? These are only some of the many questions raised by the people affected by oil palm development in Palawan's UNESCO declared Man and Biosphere Reserve, the most valuable ecological sanctuary in the entire Philippines.  

On 29 September, a delegation composed of farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ has handed over to Palawan Vice-Governor Dennis Socrates, a petition signed by more than 4,200 individuals calling for a moratorium on oil palm expansion province-wide.

The group belonging to the newly established Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG) said that, in addressing  rural poverty, the Government of Palawan should focus on concrete and sustainable plans to improve production on farmers’ land, rather than pushing for massive oil palm plantations.   As oil palm expansion continues unabated, the household economy of small farmers and indigenous peoples is now breaking apart.  “We are being strangled by huge debts with both Agumil Philippines, Inc (the major oil palm company) and the LandBank  (the key financer) and our land titles are being withhold by the bank  as a collateral” says Welly Mandi (CALG’s secretary).

“The expansion of oil palm plantations in Palawan is a blatant example of companies defying international law, state laws and the rights of communities through the connivance of unscrupulous and short-sighted government officials” says Marivic Bero (CALG’s Secretary General).  One can only speculate why the Government of Palawan remains passive while huge expanses of land, forest and fertile grounds of the “last Philippine Frontier” have been given  away for agribusinesses. But, at least, we know the official explanation: oil palms are only planted on ‘idle’ and ‘abandoned’ land to enhance the province’s economy while increasing job opportunities and transforming unused areas in productive plantations.

But are such lands really ‘idle’ and ‘abandoned’?  A recent study carried out by ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch) with the support of the Non-Timber Forest-Exchange Programme  and the Broederlijk Delen, has clearly proven the contrary. The study argues that most of these so called 'idle' and 'unproductive' lands include areas that have been used since time immemorial by IPs societies.   “The removal of natural vegetation and of previous agricultural improvements by oil palm plantations is leading to the total collapse of traditional livelihoods, thus fostering communities’ impoverishment and increasing malnutrition” says Dr. Dario Novellino, an anthropologist of the Centre for Biocultural Diversity of the University of Kent (UK) who has lived in Palawan over a period of almost 30 years.
He sustains that what the Government has failed to consider is that most of the so called ‘idle’ and ‘underdeveloped’ lands include areas that are being utilized by the rural and indigenous populations for different purposes (gathering of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), medicinal plants, swidden cultivation, etc.  He believes that a direct relationship exists between oil palm expansion, the impoverishment of people’s diet, the progressive deterioration of traditional livelihood and the interruption of cultural transmission related to particular aspects of people’s local knowledge.

ALDAW - NTFP-EP supported reesearch  shows that the disappearance of useful plant species due to oil palm expansion is extremely alarming.  For instance, in one particular area of Barangay Iraan (Municipality of Rizal), local indigenous informants claim that, because of oil palm development, at least 145 species have completely disappeared from the areas where these were traditionally gathered.  The study also indicates that, in some oil palm impacted communities, the most common plant species used in basketry have dramatically declined. Overall, if massive land conversion for oil palm plantation will be allowed to continue, this may cause the additional exhaustion of plant material and fibers which are essential to sustain people’s cultural practices, artistic expressions and daily needs.
The research suggests that the depletion of useful wild palms is directly connected to land conversion into oil palm plantations.  Palms yield multiple types of products and provide both food and cash income.  Palawan indigenous communities exploit wild plants for their edible cabbages (the tender meristematic region found in the growing tip and enclosed by leaf bases). Calamus spp. and Daemonorops spp. yield very little, but Arenga spp. and Oncosperma spp. might provide buds up to two-three kilograms. Certain palms such as bätuq (Caryota mitis), bätbat (Arenga undulatifolia), busniq (Arenga brevipes),and nangäq have been traditionally exploited for their edible starch.  Dr. Novellino argues that palm food in Palawan may still play an important role in view of the dramatic changes that people is experiencing in their livelihood (e.g. increasing crops’ failure due to attack of pests and unpredictable weather patterns).  He suggests that “there are evidences that during various El Nino events, several Palawan communities have been able to counter famine and crop failures through increasing collection of starch from both wild and cultivated species”.  It may then be anticipated that the alarming decline of starch palms caused by oil palm expansion could further deprive entire Palawan communities from an important emergency food (palm starch), thus leaving them with no food options during periods of food shortage and crops failure.

Surprisingly as it is,  oil palm expansion and massive land conversion in Palawan is taking place with no serious monitoring being done by the concerned authorities and in the absence of existing maps. This makes it is impossible to systematically determine the ownership, elevation, land classification, etc. of the areas in which oil palms are being planted. “Pushing for oil palm expansion, without a single map being produced, is an indication of the lack of commitment and concerns by both government agencies and oil palm companies” says Motalib Kemil, the Chairman of the newly established Palawan-based Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG). So far, oil palm plantation have covered an area of about 6,000 ha. across six Municipalities in Southern Palawan and their aim is to expand to a total target area ranging between 15,000 to 20,000 hectares.

Staring from 2010 ALDAW has  used geotagging technologies to determine the impact of deforestation caused by agribusiness enterprises such as Agumil, PPVOMI, Sant Andres and CAVDEAL, a road construction company which has recently included oil palm plantations in their business.  AGPI  is 75 percent Filipino-owned and 25 percent Malaysian and works hand in hand with its sister company, the Palawan Palm and Vegetable Oil Mills Inc. (PPVOMI) that is 60 percent Singaporean and 40 percent Filipino-owned.

ALDAW geo-referenced photographs have provided clear evidence of large forest clearing perpetrated by oil palm companies (see photo 5). On 23 January 2014, in the course of joint field visit carried by ALDAW and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) it has been ascertained that natural forest found within 19,21 ha of Alienable and Disposable Land and  within 2,69 ha of timberland has been clear cut, allegedly by Agumil in Barangay Sandoval, Municipality of Bataraza.

GPS surveys carried out by CENRO itself  have further established that oil palm plantations have encroached on virgin forest found on Alienable and Disposable Land (94.2930 ha) and on Timberland (185.2398 ha) in the Municipalities of Quezon and Rizal. Forest conversion into oil palm plantations has also occurred in other municipalities.  Interestingly enough, Agumil Philippines Inc and its sister company PPVOMI have never received  ‘tree cutting permits’  from the DENR  and thus their operations have flagrantly violated the DENR forestry code and, in particular Executive Order no.23 (the nationwide ban on the cutting of trees in natural and residual forest).

“All of this has allowed to happen because widespread [...], lack of coordination between agencies of government, failure and incompetence of government officials to ensure laws compliance, lack of accountability and transparency of agribusiness enterprises” says Marivic Bero, CALG’s Secretary General.  It would appear that Agumil and other oil palm enterprises have  bypassed, with impunity, the Strategic Environment Plan (SEP), the very law which should ensured sustainable development and environmental protection in Palawan.  This law further mandates that no development project should take place unless the proponents secure the so called SEP clearance, being issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). Furthermore, according to a Memorandum of Agreement between PCSD and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed on December 29, 1994, the latter shall not issue an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) without the project promoter having secured a SEP clearance first.  However, as far as concerning oil palm development, evidence indicates that DENR did in fact issue several ECCs to PPVOMI  prior to SEP clearances.  The latter, instead, were never secured by PPVOMI except for a SEP clearance issued for its nursery and oil mill area (about 13 hectares only). Surprisingly, there are no SEP clearances released for the remaining thousands of hectares being converted into oil palm plantations. In so doing, the DENR has overstepped the bounds of the law that it mandates to uphold, placing Palawan’s natural and cultural heritage at great risk.

“A major problem we face” says John Mart Salunday (ALDAW activist) “is that oil palm development schemes have been highly supported by the provincial government.  As a result no government agency or department dares to openly contradict and challenge the decisions made at the level of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Government)”.  It must be pointed out that the Governor himself (a well-known supporter of agro-industry) is a member of the same family which logged Northern Palawan forest in the eighties and he is also chairing the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).  Clearly as it appears, the absence of a credible and committed political class in Palawan (and in the Philippines as a whole)  is one of the root causes of environmental destruction and of the ongoing socio-economic marginalization experienced by  indigenous peoples and the rural masses.

Oil palm development in the Philippines is bound to  become a major issue.  The country, in fact, aspire to become one of the key exporters of oil palm kernels and palm oil in Southeast Asia, after Malaysia and Indonesia. Indeed, this is not such a remote possibility, considering that, recently, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has proposed the conversion of some 8 million hectares of ‘idle’, denuded and unproductive lands across the country into oil palm plantations.

The present trend suggests that more land conversion into oil palm plantations will lead to decreasing households food self-sufficiency and increasing malnutrition.  In this respect, Sofronio Espanola Municipality provides a clear example.  This Municipality has the highest percentage of land (over 45%) covered by oil palm plantations. Nevertheless it is a 4th class municipality and it is also one of the 100 poorest municipalities in the country. However, “if public-private partnership had been based on fairness and transparency, it could have play an important role in supporting our farmers in Palawan who have no capital to develop their land” says CALG’s secretary Welly Mande. Instead, local food  security is being sacrificed in the name of oil palm development.   “If the government is serious about ensuring the welfare of its constituents” adds Mande “ it should enhance the capability of small holding farmers to compete and produce enough food, rather than becoming indebted with the Agumil company and  Landbank”.

A cursory look at the so called Production Technical Marketing Agreement (PTMA) entered between farmers’ cooperatives and the Agumil shows the enormous  asymmetry of power between the former and the company.  For instance PTMA Section 1.14 recites that: If the cooperatives mismanage the operation they shall “…hand over the management to AGPI…".  A former cooperative chairman explains that 'mismanagement' must  be interpreted here as the inability of farmers to produce the required quantity of fresh fruit bunches per hectare, e.g. as the failure to meet  the company's own production expectations and projections. In short ‘underproduction’ and partial crop failure are regarded by Agumil as sufficient reasons for taking over the management of the land and for taking away from cooperatives all decision-making power.

When agri-business enterprises enter indigenous territories, local communities have no capacity to deal with such forces which are powerful and invasive.  Many indigenous communities, due to lack of background knowledge, tend to believe in the corporations’ promises of a prosperous future (e.g. free medical assistance, livelihood projects,  big and quick profits. etc) and they simply sign what they should never sign.  However, in recent months, indigenous peoples and farmers in Palawan have learned about the dark side of oil palm development (also with reference to Malaysia and Indonesia) through advocacy videos being shown to them by members of the Ancestral Land/Domain Watch (ALDAW).  “Thanks to the support of our partner, Rainforest Rescue, we have been able to travel for months from one community to the other sharing with people videos on the adverse impact of oil palm development”  says an  ALDAW activist, “the people we have mobilized have become aware of the risks, and we hope they will refrain from entering into future memorandum of agreements with oil palm firms”.

For more information:

ALDAW Network aldaw.indigenousnetwork@gmail.com and the Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG) calgpalawan@gmail.com

Friday, October 03, 2014

Case study on the use of P3DM to facilitate effective contribution of civil society in the Caribbean islands in planning for action on climate change

This case study documents CANARI’s experience in
piloting the use of P3DM in the Caribbean and identifies
lessons learnt and recommendations on how it can be used to strengthen the capacity of CSOs in the islands of the
Caribbean to play a larger and more effective role in
biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The case study was written as part of the CANARI project
Consolidating the role of civil society in biodiversity
conservation in the Caribbean islands, funded by the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Citation: Bobb-Prescott, N. 2014. Case study on the use of participatory three dimensional modelling to facilitate effective contribution of civil society in the Caribbean islands in planning for action on climate change. CANARI Technical Report 401, Laventille.

Related video production: She becomes more beautiful: Capturing the essence of Tobago Island for a better tomorrow

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Les forêts des Saramaca : les cours d'eau au coeur d'un exercice de modélisation participative en trois dimensions le long du Haut Suriname

JAW JAW, SURINAME, le 6 septembre 2014. Depuis Atjoni (Suriname), il faut 40 minutes en pirogue à moteur pour atteindre Jaw Jaw, village parsemé sur les rives du puissant fleuve Suriname. Environ 17 000 Afro-Surinamais, membres de la tribu des Saramaca, vivent dans cette région. Leurs moyens de subsistance sont la culture itinérante, la pêche, la chasse, la récolte de produits sylvicoles, les services de transport fluvial, les programmes d'emploi du secteur public et les aides envoyées par des proches.

Pendant 10 jours, une centaine de représentants de 14 villages (totalisant environ 5 000 habitants) situés le long du fleuve Suriname, en aval du village de Lespansi, ont participé à l'assemblage d'une impressionnante maquette, à l'échelle 1:15 000, d'une zone couvrant environ 2 160 km2. Des jeunes (principalement des filles) du village de Jaw Jaw ont assemblé la maquette vierge d'après les conseils de représentants de Tropenbos International Suriname et du Centre technique de coopération agricole et rurale (CTA). Des hommes et des femmes saramaca de tous les âges ont complété cette maquette avec 38 types de repères qu'ils estiment utiles à leur orientation, leur subsistance et leur culture.

Avec l'autorisation libre, préalable et éclairée des représentants des villages, les ensembles de données ont été archivés sous forme de photographies numériques haute résolution, qui seront importées dans un environnement SIG de confiance par Tropenbos.

Lors de l'ajout des repères à la maquette, il est apparu qu'en l'absence de caractéristiques géographiques visibles comme des collines ou des montagnes (la zone est relativement plate), les Saramaca utilisent les cours d'eaux pour s'orienter sur la carte. C'est pourquoi ils ont commencé par obtenir un consensus sur l'emplacement et le nom de tous les cours d'eaux des zones concernées. Ils ont ainsi identifié cinq types de cours d'eau, qu'ils distinguent selon leur largeur, leur caractère navigable et leur accessibilité saisonnière par bateau.

Le samedi 6 septembre 2014, des représentants des villages ont présenté leur travail à des représentants d'agences gouvernementales (le Ministère du développement régional, le Ministère de l'agriculture, de l'élevage et de la chasse, la Commission sur l'exploitation aurifère au Suriname [OGS] et la Fondation pour la gestion et le contrôle de la production des forêts [SBB]), du CTA, de la Fondation pour le développement de l'arrière-pays (FOB), d'organisations non gouvernementales (WWF-Guianas, Tropenbos International Suriname, Amazon Conservation Team [ACT], l'Association des chefs de villages indigènes du Suriname [VIDS]), d'organisations locales (Wan Mama Pikin et l'Association des autorités saramaca [VSG]), du secteur privé (les propriétaires de gîtes du Haut Suriname [LBS]) ainsi que des médias nationaux (DWT et Surinaamse Televisie Stichting [STVS]).

Les représentants des villages ont présenté la maquette et expliqué le processus de définition, d'affinement et d'actualisation de sa légende, tout en décrivant les débats animés qui ont conduit à l'installation des repères sur la maquette vierge. Non sans fierté, ils ont indiqué que le modèle sera exposé dans l'un des villages facilement accessible depuis l'extérieur, afin de faciliter les processus de négotiation et de planification. Aux yeux des villageois, la maquette est désormais un outil qui leur permettra de planifier leur propre développement et favorisera les interactions avec les promoteurs, les investisseurs et les décideurs.

M. Erwin Fonkel, chef du village de Jaw Jaw, a rappelé un point essentiel lors de l'entretien qu'il a accordé à STVS TV : « Cet exercice de cartographie me semble essentiel : par le passé, nous nous étions essayés à la cartographie mais en omettant de nombreuses informations. Nous avons élaboré nous-mêmes cette maquette, et avons davantage fait entendre notre voix lors de la définition de son contenu. Auparavant, les cartes omettaient de nombreux lieux primordiaux, des rivières, des lieux où trouver des ressources et générer des revenus. »

Le programme de paysagisme productif de Tropenbos International Suriname et la Stratégie de renforcement des compétences pour la planification de l'aménagement territorial au Suriname de WWF Guianas utilisera la maquette pour impliquer les parties prenantes dans l'élaboration de scénarios d'aménagement territorial et procéder à des évaluations participatives des services écologiques. Comme l'avaient prévu plusieurs chefs locaux, la maquette, désormais confiée au peuple saramaca, sera utilisée pour formuler des propositions d'investissements en matière d'infrastructures locales et de développement durable, par exemple pour des raccordements électriques et du tourisme vert.

Remarque : cette activité s'est déroulée dans le cadre du projet « Modéliser les compromis entre les scénarios d'aménagement territorial et les services écologiques dans la région du Haut Suriname ». La composante participative de la cartographie avait pour vocation d'autonomiser les villages afin de faire entendre leur voix et leur donner un rôle actif, autant dans la gestion de leurs terres et de leurs ressources naturelles que dans les processus de prise de décision dont ils dépendent.

Read the English version

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Saramakan’s forests: watercourses at the core of a Participatory 3D Modelling exercise along the Upper Suriname River

JAW JAW, SURINAME, 6 September 2014. From Atjoni, Suriname, it takes 40 minutes by motorised longboat to reach Jaw Jaw, a village sprinkled along the shores of the mighty upper Suriname River. This area is home to approximately 17,000 Afro-Surinamese people belonging to the Saramakan tribe. These people survive on shifting cultivation, fishing, hunting, harvesting of timber and non-timber forests products, boat transport services, government employment and remittances from outside the area.

Saramaka Peoples populating the 3D model
with recollections from memory
Over a 10-day period some 100 representatives from 14 villages (representing a population of approximately 5,000 people) bordering the Suriname River downstream of the village of Lespansi worked together to assemble a stunning 1:15,000 scale three-dimensional (3D) physical map of an area covering approximately 2,160 km2. Youngsters (mainly girls) from Jaw Jaw village assembled the blank model under the guidance of representatives from Tropenbos International Suriname and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA). Saramakan adults (men and women), including elders, populated the model with 38 types of feature they consider relevant for their orientation, livelihoods and culture.

The village representatives populated the map with features they consider as relevant for their orientation, livelihoods and culture. The final map legend account for a total of 38 features depicted as points (21), lines (9) and polygons (8). With free prior and informed consent obtained from community representatives, the datasets were captured using high-resolution digital photography and will be digitised and imported into a GIS environment held in trust by Tropenbos.

In the process of populating the 3D model with information, it appeared that – in the absence of outstanding landmarks like hills or mountains  (the mapped area is relatively flat) – the Saramaka used water courses to orient themselves on the map. Hence, they first had to discuss and reach general consensus on the location and names of all watercourses in the areas they were concerned with. This led them to identify five types of watercourses, differentiated according to width, navigability and seasonal accessibility by boat.

Participants in the closing ceremony
On Saturday, 6 September 2014, representatives of the local communities presented their work to representatives of government agencies (the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, the Commission on Ordering of the Gold Mining Sector in Suriname [OGS] and the Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control [SBB]), CTA, the Foundation for Development of the Hinterlands (FOB) and non-governmental organisations (WWF-GuianasTropenbos International Suriname, Amazon Conservation Team [ACT], the Association of Indigenous Village Chiefs in Suriname [VIDS]), community-based organisations (Wan Mama Pikin and The Association of Saramaka Authorities [VSG]), the private sector (Lodgeholders upper Suriname River [LBS]) and the national media (DWT and Surinaamse Televisie Stichting [STVS]).

The local community representatives presented the 3D map and explained the process that led to the formulation of the map legend and its fine-tuning and updating and described the animated discussions that led to the population of the blank model. Proudly, they stated that the model will be hosted within one of their villages that is easily accessible to outsiders to facilitate negotiations and planning processes. The villagers now consider the 3D model as a tool for planning their own development and interacting with developers, investors and policy makers.

The head of Jaw Jaw village, Mr Erwin Fonkel, made a key point in his interview with STVS TV: “I find this mapping exercise very important, because in the past we did some mapping but failed to include a lot of information. Now we have elaborated the map ourselves and we had a stronger voice on defining its content. In maps produced in the past several important locations, creeks and places where you can find resources and generate income, were not included.

The Productive Landscape Programme of Tropenbos International Suriname and the Capacity Building Strategy for Land Use Planning in Suriname of WWF Guianas will use the 3D model to involve stakeholders in elaborating land-use scenarios and conducting participatory assessments of ecosystem services. As anticipated by several local captains, the 3D model, now under the custodianship of the Saramaka people, will be used to elaborate proposals for investments in local infrastructure and sustainable development such as electrification and ecotourism.

View of the Upper Suriname River at Jaw Jaw

Jaw Jaw village around the community meeting point where the
3D model was manufactured
Note: This activity took place in the context of the project “Modelling trade-offs between land-use scenarios and ecosystem services in the upper Suriname River area”. The CTA-funded participatory mapping component  was conceived to empower local communities to have a voice and play an active role in managing their land and natural resources and decision-making processes that affect these.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Participatory 3D mapping for DRR in Jelapan, Sindumartani, Sleman, Indonesia

As the most active volcano in Indonesia, Merapi Volcano has been threatened the life of people surrounding its slope either by primary hazard in form of pyroclastic flow and secondary hazard in form of debris flow. Therefore, disaster risk reduction (DRR) effort become an important thing to be done in the area. Integrating different stakeholders is one of the most pressing contemporary needs for enhancing disaster risk reduction. The participation of such a large range of actors in DRR allows for the integration of local and scientific knowledge as well as top-down and bottom-up actions.
Methods that used for this research is participatory three dimensional mapping (P3DM). P3DM provided a tool of dialogue between local people, scientists and local government. All stakeholders were able to contribute their knowledge on the same tool. P3DM is credible to both locals, who build the map and plot most of the information and to scientists and government representatives who can easily overlap their own data and plans. In the process, NGO/academic partners served as facilitators and moderators. Such a dialogue resulted in concerted actions including both bottom-up and top-down measures to enhance disaster risk reduction.

Results showed that from the three dimensional (3D) map, participants which consist of local community and representative of local government, could identify all aspects which needed to enhance disaster risk reduction in the study area. Those aspects are affected area, distribution of vulnerable group which consist of children, old people, people with disability, and pregnant woman, also meeting point for each neighborhood system and evacuation route which can be used to evacuate when the pyroclastic and debris flow from Merapi volcano reach the area. Those aspects were displayed in the 3D maps using clear symbol and legend which are depicted in push-pins (points), yarns (lines), and paint (polygons).

Read full paper: on ScienceDirect

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From Solomon Islands to the Philippines: my PGIS learning journey – Participatory data extraction and digitization (blog post 5)

Photo credit: Melvin Purzuelo
On July 15, we had another PGIS orientation session. I had the privilege to be a part of the first participatory data extraction and digitisation process which occurred in Barangay Sua. The huge amount of information displayed on the model and therefore the amount of data to be digitised required the REBUILD Project management to allocate additional staff to oversee the digitising work. At least three local government officials from the Municipality of San Dionisio and two leading staff of the REBUILD Project attended the session. The training conducted by Green Forum-Western Visayas focused on the use of QGIS for digitising the data extracted from the 3D model of Barangay Sua. In the course of the digitising process, I realized that most data depicted on the 3D model represent infrastructure and habitats that were destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda. Although no longer present, these were located by the villagers in order to conduct a proper vulnerability assessment. They considered that visualising a complete data-set of the pre-typhoon situation and comparing it with the present conditions would enable them to gain a better understanding of possible courses of action. As an example, they cited the introduction of storm resistant infrastructures and the design of evacuation plans which would reduce risks related to natural calamities.

A total of six P3DM exercises were conducted by the REBUILD Project. It is worth mentioning that in addition to facilitating PGIS processes, the REBUILD Project staff implements livelihood projects.

Related posts by Wilfred Don Dorovoqa :

From Solomon Islands to the Philippines: My PGIS learning journey ... 
  • Blog post 5: Participatory data extraction and digitization
  • Blog post 4: QGIS introduction and P3DM in action
  • Blog post 3: Preparations and challenging encounters 
  • Blog post 2: My expectations
  • Blog post 1: How it all started