RAFT Story of Change: Rooting Learning in Real Life
|In the teak plantations of Java, Indonesia’s most populous province, forest concession staff are dropping their guns – literally. Violent conflict has ceased since a mediation process between a major logging company and local communities got underway five years ago. Today, these same staff are implementing new ways of identifying and resolving conflicts before
“In the past, anyone who removed timber illegally from our forest management units was regarded as a thief,” says Harris Triwahjunita, Head of Sustainable Forest Management for Perum Perhutani, a government-run timber company in Java. “But now we realize that people encroach on the forest for many different reasons. We have developed a system to differentiate between those using the forest for basic needs and those involved in criminal syndicates.” Since adopting an approach to work with communities to improve their livelihoods and share benefits, encroachment has decreased and local people are working with forest staff to identify criminal activity in the forest and report it to the police.
In Asia and the Pacific, new economic opportunities are emerging from ecologically and socially responsible forest management. But the knowledge and skills required to make the most of these opportunities are still in short supply. With a fresh new take on learning, the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) program is growing the skills, the confidence and the connections needed to respond to new incentives for keeping forests healthy, with the people who depend on them as a critical part of the picture. RAFT uses ‘learning networks’ – pioneered by RAFT partner RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests – to build capacity in two areas: tackling forest conflict, and strengthening participation in the development of systems to reduce carbon emissions from the forest.
“RAFT’s conflict management learning network is unique because it went beyond a single training workshop,” says Agung Wiyono, a training participant from RAFT Partner The Forest Trust (TFT). “It took a long-term approach with a series of trainings over seven months, allowing participants to apply what we learned in the field and report back.”