Saturday, July 25, 2015

Release announcement: Langscape: Vol. 4:1, Summer 2015, The People's Issue - Part One: Flows and Bridges

Terralingua's magazine Langscape is a unique voice for biocultural diversity—the interlinked diversity of life in nature and culture. It aims to bring biocultural diversity to the general public through thought pieces, reports from the field, personal accounts, stories, photo essays, and artwork.

This issue focuses on a theme of “Flows and Bridges”. Flows: the flow of life in nature and culture, in space and time; the flow of water; the flow of memory; the flow of communication and understanding across cultures; the flow of art, dance, and beauty. And Bridges: bridges across often troubled waters, linking traditional and scientific knowledge, traditional solutions and contemporary innovations, traditional informal education and western formal education, local situations and global awareness and action; bridges of solidarity among individuals and communities; bridges over our gaps in knowledge and understanding, opening new paths and new hopes for sustaining the biocultural diversity of life.

You can view the Editorial and the Table of Contents  on the Langscape website, where you can also find out how to receive the magazine as well as access web-only content.

Friday, July 10, 2015

‘Participatory data’ and the formulation of Tourism Development Area Management Plans in Samoa

Developing agriculture to better serve tourism markets in the Pacific is knowledge intensive. The first step is to determine the tourism market’s demands for agricultural produce and then to match this with what is available from local production. But much of this information is not currently readily available.

Bridging this information gap was a key objective of the recent Agribusiness Forum: Linking the agrifood sector to the tourism-related markets coordinated by CTA and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) with support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Agriculture Policy Programme (PAPP) and the intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme (Intra-ACP APP). This event, held in Fiji from 1 to 3 July 2015, brought together experts from government agencies, farmers’ organisations, community-based organisations, remote sensing and research bodies to identify the data gaps and discuss how to go forward.

Giving a community perspective, Amia Luatua from the Samoa Tourism Authority, shared Samoa’s work on tourism planning, showing how communities have used participatory 3D modelling (P3DM) to collect data that have been used to inform tourism developments.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Weaponizing Maps: Indigenous Peoples and Counterinsurgency in the Americas

Maps play an indispensable role in indigenous peoples’ efforts to secure land rights in the Americas and beyond. Yet indigenous peoples did not invent participatory mapping techniques on their own; they appropriated them from techniques developed for colonial rule and counterinsurgency campaigns, and refined by anthropologists and geographers.

Through a series of historical and contemporary examples from Nicaragua, Canada, and Mexico, this book explores the tension between military applications of participatory mapping and its use for political mobilization and advocacy.

The authors analyze the emergence of indigenous territories as spaces defined by a collective way of life--and as a particular kind of battleground.

Weaponizing Maps: Indigenous Peoples and Counterinsurgency in the Americas
Paperback – March 5, 2015
by Joe Bryan PhD (Author), Denis Wood PhD (Author)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Using Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling (P3DM) to facilitate community decision making: a case study from the Vanuatu Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project

This report focuses on the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project in In Vanuatu, which focuses on coastal zone management, and specifically the coastal roads on the island of Epi, which are being damaged by flooding and coastal erosion. The project is working with local communities to develop appropriate solutions that contribute to more resilient infrastructure.

The PACC Vanuatu project team identified participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) as a valuable tool to facilitate community participation and decision making in the project.
P3DM involves the building of three dimensional (3D) relief maps by communities, combining local knowledge of geography and land use with geo-referenced data. The map then forms the basis for discussion and decision making on project interventions.

Download report

Related Vlogpost: Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) for bottom-up decision-making in Vanuatu

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Maptionnaire - Helsinki's brave idea to bring planning to the masses

Maptionnaire is an online platform that allows you to create map-based questionnaires for different types of cases when you need to ask "where". Respondents can for example pin locations, and draw routes or lines. It's up to the project manager to think what kind of issues he/she wants to ask and build an appropriate questionnaire with Maptionnaire's editor tool. The project manager can also include options for adding written and/or multiple choice or open ended questions. Traditional survey questions that are not linked to geo-specific entries may also be included. The project manager has the discretion to invite respondents and the results can be reviewed with Maptionnaire's built-in analytical tool. The results can be exported to all major GIS software if needed.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Indonesia - Dayaks and Drones- How technology can promote sustainable forests and communities

Even a well-managed, recognised forest faces constant challenges but innovative drone GPS technology, cooperative campaigning, local government support and eco-tourism are helping the Setulang people thrive. They have shown that community rights, the environment and development go hand in hand.

Setulang boasts clean water, sustainable fishing and hunting, building materials, fruit and traditional medicine, a ‘life bank’ for future generations. But by being in a heavily forested area they still face the growing threat of timber, oil palm and mining companies. The head of the village is looking to find new and innovative solutions to protect his land and a team of experts from West Kalimantan may have the answer. GPS based drones are being used for the first time to map community land and the results have been impressive.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Drones for urban planning in Tanzania - An Introduction and Demonstration

Frederick Mbuya, an IT Consultant and drone enthusiast based in Tanzania, walks through some basics about drones and a demonstration in Tandale, a vast and unplanned urban community in Dar Es Salaam.

Participatory 3 Dimensional Modelling in Madagascar: A process to be replicated in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) has already shown considerable potential in a number of countries with regard to the mobilisation of communities in the context of bottom-up planning and management of natural resources.  In Madagascar, the very first P3DM exercise took place in February 2015, in the Avaratrambolo water catchment area.

The exercise was conducted in a rural farming area some 35 km from the Madagascan capital, Antananarivo. The population of this region, situated in the northern part of the island, makes a living almost exclusively from rice farming, with weak purchasing power and poor access to the markets. The rural landscape is dominated by paddy fields, small forest plantations and a small remnant of natural forest. The catchment represents the source of a number of important river courses.
The P3DM exercise took place within the framework of a project aimed at promoting agriculture and water management called "Let's move towards change", Ndao hivoatra in the Madagascan language. This project, which involves several local, national and international, has gained special significance for local communities.

As in many parts of Africa, property issues are very sensitive in Madagascar. This explains why, in recent years local communities have ben reluctant in participating in a number of rural development projects. The P3DM exercise in Avaratrambolo made a significant contribution to removing concerns related to potential land grabbing. As with earlier projects in the area, the Ndao hivoatra project was thought by rural communities to be a trick to take over ancestral land for the benefit of multinationals that pose as promoters of rural development in remote areas of Africa. In spite of the numerous awareness-raising meetings which preceded the P3DM exercise communities perceived the forthcoming mapping process as a means for identifying areas which could be taken away. This had to radically change during the P3DM process …

The first phase of the exercise involved the construction of the blank 3D model. This phase was preceded by a workshop involving local facilitators and international facilitators from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as representatives of the institutions involved in the Ndao hivoatra project, to plan the process, identify preliminary equipment, logistics and define how best to engage the communities in participating. It was during this workshop that all those involved gained an understanding of the overall scope of the forthcoming mapping exercise.

The first visit by facilitators to the village of Ambohitrakely took place under a torrential downpour over a severely eroded and hardly accessible dirt road. This first activity was intended to guide schoolchildren trace and cut out cardboard layers for the construction of the 3D model. The children's work on the model sparked the curiosity of their parents. Gradually, adults including residents of nearby villages became involved in the construction of the model.

On 13 February 2015 the completed 3D model was officially displayed in the village of Ambohitrakely. In addition to representatives from the project implementing agencies, national ministries, researchers and other stakeholders, the event brought together a large and festive crowd including local, religious and traditional authorities and the local population which initially appeared reluctant to participate in the Ndao hivoatra project due to the sensitivity of the land tenure issue. The positive messages and the enthusiasm shown by the participants were a clear indicator of the behavioural change occurred. The model-making process proved to have plaid a reconciliatory role with regard to the project. Active participation of the local communities in the construction of the model and, in particular, in their driving role in defining the content of the map legend and populating the model with geo-referenced data, noticeably increased their confidence and feeling of ownership and control of the process. Residents now feel that the 3D model belongs to them as a tool to guide the implementation of the Ndao hivoatra project.

P3DM proved to be a powerful process for land and forest planning, management and development. The success of this exercise in Madagascar points to the usefulness and the opportunity for replicating the process elsewhere in Africa. For example, the exercise could be run in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the process of governance and management of community forests continues to progress. The publication of Decree No. 14/018 dated 2 August 2014 sets the modalities for allocating forest concessions to local communities in the DRC. Concerned local communities and Indigenous Peoples would benefit from P3DM to identify their ancestral territories and effectively plan and implement both conservation and sustainable development projects. The creation and operationalisation of the community forests and the recognition of indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs) in the DRC is a process that requires not only the passing of pertinent legislation, but also, and in particular, a commitment on the part of a range of stakeholders. Without obtaining full support from technical, scientific and financial stakeholders, the good will of the DRC government may be in vain.

Written by Dominique Bikaba, Strong Roots Congo

Notes from the author: The success of this first P3DM process in Madagascar can be credited also to the qualities and skills of the lead facilitator Mr Barthélemy Boika, who demonstrated his talents as an educator and community motivator. My thanks also go to the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) for its technical inputs and for supporting my participation in the exercise.

The project « ndao hivoatra » has been launched by the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) with funding provided by the World Bank to promote sustainable rural development. Le projet is implemented by Artelia Madagascar with technical support provided by Farming and Technology for Africa (FTA) in partnership with FOFIFA (Centre National de la Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural). The P3DM exercise which represents a punctual component of the overall project has been supported technically and financially by CTA.