On the 27th-29th of May 2022, the Kewang Muda Maluku 2022 program was successfully held in Laga Village, Gunung Api Island, Banda Islands. A total of 20 young people from various parts of Maluku, including Ambon City, Banda Islands, Southwest Maluku, Tual, and Dobo, enthusiastically engaged in a variety of activities.
Just like the previous year, the program which was organized by the EcoNusa Foundation and the Moluccas Coastal Center aims to invite young Maluku people to become environmental diplomats who carry on the spirit of kewang. Indigenous peoples in Maluku have a special institution known as the Kewang Institution. The role of this customary law instrument is to protect their customary territory, also known as ulayat rights (petuanan areas). If you want to know more about kewang, you can read it here.
Learning many new things in a fun way
For 3 days, the participants were provided with training on various topics needed for an environmental diplomat. First and foremost, it is of course important for the participants to learn more about the environment. The participants were lucky to be able to learn many new things from the well-known experts in their field.
There was Opa Eliza Kissya from Haruku Country, who is a kewang in Maluku. Opa Eli explained about the origin of kewang which came from the ancestral words about forest or ewang. Then, there was also a lecturer at the University of Pattimura, Dr. James Abrahamsz, S.Pi, M.Si who gave material on the theme of Ecological Crisis. Furthermore, Mikha Ganobal, an environmental activist who is known by the hashtag Save Aru, also shared his experience in conducting a forest rescue campaign. Not to forget, Georgie Manuhuwa, an environmental hygiene activist from Ambon, shared his experience in making ecobricks and recycling paper.
The twenty participants were always actively participating in the activity, not just listening to the speakers’ explanations. For instance, when being asked what they would do to lessen the ecology crisis, all of them shared their ideas. Arya suggested using coconut shells and cement to build coral transplants or artificial corals. Then there was Rahman, who stressed the need of avoiding the “panas-panas tai ayam” culture when taking action, which is defined as the practice of being passionate about taking action only at the start. He believes that taking action requires us to be committed to doing it in a long-term manner.
In addition to learning about the environment, the participants also got communication training. Nugie Lukas of the Econusa Foundation taught this session in a fun way. The participants were encouraged to participate in games that would put their communication skills to the test.
The expected outcome of the Kewang Muda Maluku 2022 program is that participants would be able to plan and implement environmental activities in their local areas. There are numerous actions that can be taken based on the experiences of Kewang Muda Maluku 2021 alumni. For example, Vida held the Sevav Save Nature program, which invited residents around Ohoidertom Village, Maluku to plant mangroves together. Then there was also a workshop on making eco bricks in Dobo, Maluku, which was held by Vento and Steve.
Interestingly, this year Kewang Muda Maluku 2022 participants immediately took action after the program ended. To celebrate the World Environment Day on June 5, 2022, they organized the waste clean up action at 6 points in Banda Neira. Through this action, they invited the general public to continue to pay attention to cleanliness and environmental sustainability. Isn’t it cool? Can you guess what’s next?