Friday, December 18, 2015

Le pouvoir de la cartographie participative en 3D chez les Saramacas du Suriname (video)

Il y a cinquante ans, quelque 5000 individus du peuple Saramaccan du Suriname ont dû quitter leurs terres traditionnelles, le long de la Rivière Suriname en raison de la construction d'un grand barrage. Les blessures de cette transmigration se font encore sentir aujourd'hui. Pendant ce temps, les Saramaccans qui vivent dans cette région font face à de nouveaux défis, car leurs droits territoriaux ne sont pas encore officiellement reconnus et les infrastructures routières pour accéder à la zone sont en voie d'amélioration. La création d'une maquette participative de la zone qui visualise et documente leurs traditions et l'utilisation traditionnelle des ressources contribue à surmonter leur frustration et leur redonner espoir.

English version:
Saamaka version:

The enabling power of participatory 3D mapping among the Saramaccan Peoples of Suriname (Video)

Fifty years ago, some 5000 Saramaccan Peoples 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.

Language versions:
Version française:
Saramaccan version:

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. 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 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."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Socially engaging, user-friendly, and user-useful approaches in ecosystem service research

Participatory 3D modelling was presented as a ground breaking approach to use in participatory ecosystem service research during the 8th Ecosystem Service Partnership Conference, held in Stellenbosch, South Africa from the 9th to the 13th of November 2015. The Conference saw the participation of around 380 scientists from around the globe.

The presentation by Sara Ramirez A socially engaging, user friendly and user-inspired approach in ecosystem research took place within the workshop “Indigenous peoples in their ecosystems’’. An ecosystem service research project was designed and implemented in Suriname, which used Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) to engage local communities in a process of co-producing knowledge about ecosystem services and competing land uses.

P3DM is an effective tool to involve scientist and local knowledge holders in an equally and transparent co-production of salient and legitimate knowledge about ecosystem services. Parallel to research outputs (of main interest to the researcher), a P3DM approach yields directly tangible outputs for the local communities which makes research inclusive and legitimate. Attendees during the session participated actively through questions and feedback.