From rural housewives to mom guardians of the forest

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This article is based on a story originally published in the Indonesian newspaper Kompas in Bahasa.

Skolastika M. Erimina, 57, holds a 1 liter plastic jug up to the water source and starts counting. When the pitcher is She makes a note to the brim, compares it to the previous page and smiles: four seconds faster than last year. The faster one Water flow rating will bring Joy to the people in the village of Golo Damu in west Manggarai Regency, Flores, Indonesia – This means that it is easier for them to get clean water into the air Come Dry season from May to October.

No guarantee of reliabilitye Water supply from year to year, village life really depends In the balance Here. B.ut IThat was not always so like this. The situation got bad when Wae Ndamer Spring, one of the areas in the region crucial water sources, dried up due to massive deforestation and hunting iin the Puar Lolo forest. Deforestation for clearing agricultural land, Furniture making materials and commercial wood dthe forest is interrupted Ability to control the water cycle. Furthermore, widespread hunting was Damaging Bird populations and preventing you "Replant" trees their role as the seeds of naturePersal Agents. The ecosystem in the region was therefore no longer balanced.

ThThe group most affected were Golo Damu's housewives. T.hey are the ones in charge of cooking and washing, and when the local water supply is running out, the burden of one Demanding travel on foot search water falls on them. So it follows that you were also most motivated to do something about it.

Since 2009, the Companiesng Housewives from the "Kembang Mekar" (“blooming flowers”) Been group travel to the forest from Mbeliling District Equipped with books, binoculars and a plastic mug, on a mission: to to back up a more reliable one Water supply for the future of theirs Children and grandchildren. With Their simple but trustworthy Tools, them Carry out monitoring of activities in the forest.

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At the arrival On the construction site, every woman can work on her respective assignmenty. Something, like Skolastika, Check the spring and measure the flow. Other take that out trusted field leader and see and hearcarefully record each time Bird watching and singing in their notebooks. And you to serve someone the Forest self – – Measurement Tree conditions, Record logging incidents and plant new trees. If the Field work When you are done, analyze your results and put them together all in a report to Share with relevant parties.

The group checks the condition of the trees, water and wildlife in the forest. © Muhammad Meisa

But how did it work? This local network to have come from country women Environmental monitoring experts? U.Npredictablely, tThe group started in 2008 as a loan and savings business. C.omprised by 24 People, all housewives, tThe heirs' motivation was similar to what it is to the Forest monitoring – to improve the future Perspectives of their children. By their poor parents' income, lots could not continue their career Ambitions without getting into terrible debt with loan sharksbut tthanks to the Business, several have children earned university degrees and are now working in Graduate jobs. Then, one Year after the group started I got involvedth Burung Indonesia (BirdLife’S partner in Indonesia).

Mbeliling is a priority Page? ˅ for the conservation work of Burung Indonesia and a of the landscapes in BirdLife Accelerator for the sustainability of forest landscapes. This 94,000 hectare landscape includes approx. 73% forest and is Home to dozens of endemic bird species, some of which are critically endangered, like that F.Lore Falcon-eagle Nisaetus floris and Flores Scopswl Otus Alfredi. Mbeliling is also an important source of water, both for agricultural activities and for the daily needs of local communities.

Mbeliling is the richest area for restricted range birds in Flores © Muhammad Meisa

"When it comes to conservation, we cannot be separated from the locals locally. They are the closest and most affected, but theThe ability to deal with their natural environment is limited,"said Tiburtius Hani, Burung Indonesia's program manager in Flores.

Working with rural and indigenousenous communities is a cornerstone from BirdLife’s EU funded Forest management. Invest in local people who willI don't just take care of the forest better outlook to preserve, but can also improve the life quality to the the living in the Forest Communities.

Burung Indonesia provided the strive Group of women with training needed carry out "Monitoring natural services. They were asked to protect the forest and plant trees, and they were given tools to monitor the birds and the water deliver. “We reached out to them first because they are the most vulnerable, and you Work in Solidarity with a great focus on their work.Tiburtius explains.

With an already existing organizational structure, tThe women quickly faced this new challenge and are U.Nfear of Use your voice when your precious forest house is mistreated: "in the 2014In the spring, a company carried out logging and clearing. We reported the company to the Forest Service Office and finally it Left. There were also people who hunted the birds here and we asked them to leave. This is our forest, ” says Scolastics.

Led by Skolastika, the group Has now admitten men (bring up his number 38 members) and local communities enjoy that fruit their hard work. In addition to clean water, the Melodies from Birds can be heard more often in the village and They also help pollinate crops such as carnations.

Land development still threatens Mbeliling. Near increasingly popular tourist destinations Means the Ecosystem is in danger of being thrown further out of balance if this is not developed sensitively. But One thing is certain: This resilient Group of women, armed with the sscientific knowledge collected from their work, will do everything in their power keep that Forest standing, the birds sing and prevent her spring drying above again.

More about the project

title: Strengthening the participation of non-state actors in forest management in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea
Management partner: BirdLife International
National partners: Burung Indonesia (BirdLife Indonesia); Malaysian Nature Society (BirdLife Malaysia); Haribon Foundation (BirdLife in the Philippines); Tenkile Conservation Alliance (Papua New Guinea).
Training and technical partners: University of Papua New Guinea; Center for international development and training
Funded by: European Union

www.birdlife.org/forest-governance

The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of BirdLife International and can in no way be taken as an expression of the views of the European Union.

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