Tracking back EcoNusa in the past five years, I see something that makes me proud and optimistic. There have been many assistances activities so that the indigenous people are independent in natural resources, forest, and sea management for their welfare. Since 2019, EcoNusa has implemented a program so-called School of Eco Involvement (SEI) as an umbrella for Social Transformation School (STS), village head workshop, Village School, in Sorong, South Sorong, Kaimana, Merauke, Halmahera, and Seram Bagian Barat.
What has been done by our colleague at the field with young people, tribal chiefs, and indigenous people have in fact given impact. The strategic approach involving village heads, local youngsters, local cadres, and community has become extraordinary synergy to build a better and more advanced village. As set previously, the EcoNusa-initiated school here was intended to bolster the local community resilience in management, protection, and utilization of natural resources in their traditional management areas. In fact, many locals, ranging from village head, local figures, and young people, involved here gave very positive response.
They admitted having acquired knowledge they have never learned or known before. Whereas they have very close learning area to their own daily life. The village school does not only provide knowledge but also school of life that opens collective awareness that they have manageable natural resources and human as the managers. They learned on agriculture, how to plant properly, to produce organic fertilizer, and how to make use of domestic yard or garden. They also studied renewable energy with the existing materials. Not only farming, but the villagers also learned on the processing technology to create added value and more economic values for welfare.
Moreover, they also learned on the village data collection in which young people learned to know technology for data collection, village mapping. As it is in Merauke, the community learned to collect social data of demographic, sectoral data on area and food, and spatial data which is related to the customary areas territory.
What is pleasing from STS or Village School is the emerging young peoples as the local influencers. They came up among hundreds of participants and dozens of villages that involve in the ongoing activity here. There is Billy Metemko from Merauke who mobilizes people to be technology savvy and the know the importance of village data. There are junior high school graduates in Kaimana who became inspirators on organic fertilizer production. There is Eko Susanto in Seram Bagian Barat who called the jobless youngsters to learn on copra drying technique to earn income. Then there is Elvira Lumapuy in Maluku who now mobilizes local women in the faraway villages to plant organic vegetables and forest honeybee cultivation.
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Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, once said, “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness”. I dare to say that SEI in Tanah Papua and Maluku in fact has generated inspiring figures or local champions who have appreciation for goodness. The local cadres and village heads took parts in dissemination of knowledge they acquired from SEI. They disseminate good seeds that will be replicated to all elements of the local community. I believe there will be multiplier effect from the good seeds they disseminate.
I hope SEI could make the indigenous people transform their lives with more understanding, utilization, and protection of their natural resources. Human resources should also be developed so that human in Tanah Papua and Maluku is more prominent and more sovereign over their own natural abundance.