Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 2: Participatory Mapping and Community Empowerment for Climate Change Adaptation, Planning and Advocacy

22 May, 2012, HONIARA - During the  second day of the workshop participants were exposed to the main phases of the map-making process. Morning presentations by Giacomo Rambaldi, CTA senior programme coordinator, accompanies by the featuring of a series of video productions, provided detailed information on the steps to follow in order to produce a stand-alone, scale and geo-referenced relief model.
The method is the result of a merger of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) and Geographic  Information Technologies GITs). Prior to the realization of the model there is the need to work with the knowledge holders to clearly define the purpose, the geographical scope and the scale of the map. Technology intermediaries may play a role in favouring a fair representation of all sectors of society in the process, including women and less favoured strata. The selection of the scale is an important factor, since the smaller the scale is, the less the people will relate to the 3D model.

While presentations and Questions and Answers were enfolding in the main hall, students from the Selwyn College were busy manufacturing a 1:5000 scale model of Naro a rural area located west of Honiara . As reported by the facilitator, Patrick Vuet, the model covers an area of 5 km x 6 km or 30 km2, includes coastal and terrestrial components, a traditional marine protected area and raises from sea level up to 490m elevation. To complete the blank model the students had to cut 49 layers of carton board to match the 10 m contour interval used on the base map.

The blank model offers the reference base for adults to transfer their mental recollections (spatial knowledge) in the day to come. As outlined in his presentation by Dr. JC Gaillard from the School of Environment, The University of Auckland, participatory 3D models offer the opportunity for integrating local spatial knowledge with scientific data; Gaillard argued that P3DM is a powerful tool that can be used to combine different knowledge systems and that this could help foster dialogue between stakeholders and improve participation of “voiceless” groups in decision-making processes. Gideon Solo from TNC shared his experience in using P3DM for CC adaptation planning. His intervention was followed by a contribution offered by Ringko Kodosiku, a representative from Boe Boe village who shared his insider’s experience in the use of the method, which – he stated – went by far beyond map-making. In fact he reported that the model his community manufactured in 2011 is now used for planning reforestation activities, address livelihood options and improve local agricultural practices.

However, to be ready for interpretation, a map needs a key to interpret its symbols: the legend. “A map is mute without its legend” pointed out Jacob Zikuli, AF-SWoCK Project Manager. As participants highlighted today, the legend making process is a fundamental step in any participatory mapping process. The “talkative” capacity of a map, in fact, rests in the capability of different users to interpret and understand what it is meant to reproduce; particularly when a map is used to support intercultural dialogue, it is essential that its graphic vocabulary is fully understood by all parties involved.

The preparation of the legend precedes the plotting of features on the model. Six representatives (3 men and 3 women) of Naro presented their draft legend to the workshop participants. The legend items included point data (school, church, houses..), lines (rivers, roads) and areas (forest conservation, logging areas, coconut plantation, reforestation areas, home gardens, fishing areas, different types of forest, etc).

P3DM has proven to be effective to elicit people’s tacit knowledge on their environment:  While working on the physical model, people internalise its landscape and are progressively at ease in navigating it and in locating features. Stimulated by intense discovery learning processes and intra-generational knowledge exchanges, tacit knowledge tends to emerge.

According to several presenters, the P3DM process is characterised by a unique pattern of excitement and willingness to complete the tasks, leading knowledge holders to work late in the night to thoroughly populate the model with their mental recollections. According to Giacomo Rambaldi such excitement is linked to the fact that mapmakers realise to know more than they were aware of (i.e. emergence of tacit knowledge), to the fact that such knowledge is valuable for them and for their community as a whole and to the celebration of its inter and intra-generational transfer.

The process of map-making also gives people the chance to analyse their own situation, identify problems on the territory and their root causes, and frequently to come up with potential solutions. Hence the P3DM process is considered as a catalyst in taking informed decisions about future intervention on land and waters. Dave de Vera reported that P3DM is an excellent method for observing the changes in the resource base over time, for planning their future uses and for monitoring purposes.  “Through P3D-Modelling communities can find the relationship with their environment by themselves and they will be able to make informed choices”, Don Wilfred pointed out. “P3D-Modelling is a strategic tool for planning”, he said.

Participants concluded that P3DM can be used for a range of purposes including land tenure, community-based environment conservation and rehabilitation, planning agricultural activities and contributing to the design of interventions having a social infrastructure component. In the Philippines, for instance, P3DM were used to draft intervention plans for gravity fed irrigation systems.

The second day came to an end with a group exercise. Participants were asked to share their reflections based on feedback featured on the Democracy Wall.

Before joining the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project, as Project Manager, Mr Taito Nakalevu, was working for his government in the domain of geomatics. Recognizing the power of P3DM for community empowerment he stated that “P3DM  takes community participation at a higher level”

Brilliantly facilitated by Senoveva Mauli from TNC Solomon, the workshop came to an end on a series of remarks made by Dave de Vera: “P3DM is a picture of the reality produced by the people to show who they are. It communicates the point of view of the people, the way they relate with their environment, the way they want to live their life. P3DM encompasses all these aspects“.

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