Building Leadership through CO

Building Leadership through CO

Since 2000, the Wisnu Foundation has collaborated with traditional villages/villages to develop critical community thinking and real participation in community spaces. Wisnu’s then carried out his activities in accordance with the new strategic plan towards the formation of a society that is able to conserve and manage natural resources fairly. The strategy used to achieve this is through community empowerment using the CO (Community Organizing) concept. CO or Community Organizing is a development that prioritizes building critical awareness and exploring the potential of local community knowledge.

Community organizing prioritizes community development based on democratic dialogue or deliberation. CO emphasizes developing community awareness, so that they are able to manage their resource potential. In general, the methods used in community organizing are the growth of critical awareness, active participation, continuous education, as well as the formation and strengthening of community organizing. All of this aims to transform the social system which is seen as exploiting society and oppressing (repressive). The main objective of organizing society is to form a civilized and humane society (civil society) that upholds democratic, fair, open values, as well as economic, political and cultural prosperity.

Various methods/media can be used in community organizing, including various types of creative media, such as films. So, at the training on Building Young Generation Leadership through Community Organizing which was held on 10-11 April 2024 at Bugo Camp Gobleg, The Burning Season film was chosen as the training medium. This film, produced in 1994, tells the story of Francisco “Chico” Mendes’ struggle to protect the Amazon rainforest as his living space. Around 40 young people from Nusa Penida, Penarungan, Nyambu, Dukuh Sibetan, Tenganan Pegringsingan, and Adat Dalem Tamblingan watched this film which was based on a true story carefully.

After watching, the participants expressed what they felt. The participants felt emotions, concern, sadness, anger, fear but enthusiasm, confusion and tension while watching. Apart from that, there are those who say that they are not ready to have a husband like Chico Mendes, that investors and their henchmen have no sense, and imagine that the Amazon forest is “customary” land controlled by people who have a lot of money. This film is very related to the current conditions occurring in villages, especially in the Tamblingan area and Nyambu Village.

Participants were then divided into six groups based on their villages, namely Nusa Penida, Penarungan, Nyambu, Tenganan Pegringsingan, Dukuh Sibetan, and Adat Dalem Tamblingan. Each group must relate the content of the film to the conditions of their village, namely:

  • What: what happens in living spaces (villages, islands, regions) and at the global level.
  • Who: who is harmed/benefited/has an interest and who is involved.
  • When: awareness of the problem arises, begins to build an organization, and takes action (advocacy, confrontation, and negotiation).
  • Why: injustice, resistance/struggle, and defeat/victory occur.
  • Where: a threat occurs and takes action.
  • How: grow awareness, build consensus (internal/external), and achieve goals.

There are many things that are very related to village conditions because they are very similar, where there is pressure in terms of cultural values, transfer of land ownership, and reduced self-esteem. The existence and roles of actors must be mapped and analyzed when organizing. Another important thing to do is build public awareness and knowledge. There are various media that can be used, including community radio, t-shirts, brochures and posters. Ironically, when there are village people who are thought to be educated, they are the ones who become enemies of the village community itself.

In general, Bali is facing worrying conditions. Tourism is part of the private sector, it is the soft face of capitalism. Balinese people are lulled and unaware of the threat of death, like frogs being boiled over low heat. At first the water felt cold, then warm and very comfortable, and when the heat got higher, the frog didn’t notice because the temperature rose very slowly. So, when the water gets hotter, the frog is no longer able to jump out and finally dies. One of the important things to do is to build awareness in managing living resources, for example making young people aware of how to return to managing agricultural land.

After dinner, five participants had the opportunity to share. They are young people who have gained experience participating in activities outside Bali, even outside Indonesia. The themes raised are generally related to indigenous communities/youth and climate change:

  1. 2nd Asia Parks Congress “Parks for Nature and People” and VI Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (Ketut Santi Adnyana – Brasti, Tamblingan)
  2. Indigenous Youth Leadership (Aditya Permana – Dukuh Sibetan, Rio Wedayana – Tenganan, Dwitasari – Wisnu, representing Masyarakat Adat Dalem Tamblingan)
  3. Training Good Facilitators for Youth (Era Patricya – Brasti, Tamblingan)
  4. COP 28 UN Climate Meeting (Andra Drupadi – Brasti, Tamblingan)
  5. Asia Pacific Climate Week (road to COP 28 Dubai) and ICCAs Consortium’s Annual Southeast Asia Region Assembly (Rio Wedayana – Tenganan Pegringsingan)

The interesting thing conveyed by those invited abroad is that most indigenous peoples in the world know that the Indonesian government does not support the existence of their indigenous communities. In fact, the world is aware of the existence of forests, including forests that are labeled as national parks or tourist parks, whose integrity is actually maintained by indigenous/local communities. The good news is, it is not only the Indonesian government that does not support its indigenous communities, that is why indigenous communities are included in the category of vulnerable groups (based on the National Human Rights Action Plan 2015-2019).

So, young community or indigenous community leaders must have a leadership spirit that is able to influence and direct other people to achieve common goals. Putu Wiadnyana from Tenganan said that leaders should have a character that refers to the Kakawin Ramayana, namely having eight characteristics (asta brata) related to natural elements: earth (foothold), sun (energy), moon (light in times of darkness), stars (gives direction), water (open to receiving input), ocean (has broad insight), wind (flexible), and fire (fair and wise).

The next day, the long-awaited activity, trekking to Alas Mertajati – enjoying the fresh air, seeing the beauty, and feeling the sacredness of the Tamblingan forest and lake. The journey starts from Bale Melajah, a space that is used for communicating and learning from each other. The Bale Melajah pole is made from clove trees taken from four villages (Gobelg, Munduk, Gesing, Umejero), as a symbol of ADT in Catur Village. This area plays a role as a producer of ecosystem services, namely clean water, clean air and a maintained landscape.

After walking in the forest and rowing on the lake, and after lunch, participants were again asked to have group discussions. Each village must formulate what will be done in their respective villages after this meeting, as well as what will be done at the network level. Almost all villages plan to invite young people to join groups and be actively involved in every activity. Meanwhile at the network level, communication will continue to be carried out and information will be shared with each other. Good luck…

The activity was closed by Mr. Putu Ardana who conveyed an important message, namely that indigenous peoples/communities must be the main players in their own land. The purpose of this meeting is to learn to organize so that it is organized, both at the community level and at the indigenous community network to work together. Thank you to Diageo Indonesia for supporting the implementation of this activity, also Pak Made Suarnatha and Denik Puriati for facilitating it, and Lisa Ismiandewi for coordinating the activity so well. Hopefully the young generation of the village will be able to organize the community with the leadership spirit of Asta Brata.

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