Panda CLICK! A love of nature conservation through local eyes
Results of a year-long photographic journey through the local environment by members of the Bunut Hilir community in the Heart of Borneo, have just been launched in a stunning new photographic collection called the Crystal Eye, at Kinokuniya book store in Jakarta.
Switzerland’s Ambassador to The Republic of Indonesia and Timor Leste, Mr. Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, launched the publication reflecting the significant funding provided for the project by WWF Switzerland.
The project is called Panda CLICK! ‘Panda’, because it is initiated by WWF with its famous panda logo and CLICK! as an abbreviation of the project title: ‘Communication Learning towards Innovative Change and Knowledge’.
The program trains members of local communities in the use of a digital camera and then lets them loose for a year in their local environment to capture anything they wish related to the world about them, their daily activities, cultures and traditions.
“The action of taking a picture is not merely about 'capturing a moment’; it is also a statement about an existence,” says a line in the Crystal Eye. It was this belief that fueled WWF-Indonesia’s year long project.
The book features around 346 images chosen from a staggering 229,181 original images taken by villagers during the project. With photos of things the local people value in life, the project has shown that protecting the earth and the culture can be done in many ways.
“The photography book becomes an important tool for the community to voice their heartfelt feelings about the forests surrounding them,” said Dr. Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia.
“It is our hope that the decision makers can easily understand the forest values from the community perspective, therefore their policy will be able to accommodate community aspirations.”
Images from the project have already been used to support development proposals to local government. For example, for the improvement of rural electric utilities and to secure funding assistance from the Department of Agriculture to further develop rice fields tilled by local residents.
The images were ‘described’ following discussions with the photographer and other community members. The story is recorded in photographs and enhanced with a narrative written by a variety of sources including experts such as Professor of Anthropology. Dr. (Emeritus) Syamsuni Arman, Mario Anthony Birowo, a communications expert from the University of Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, West Kalimantan, senior journalists, Muchlis Suhairi, and Andi Fachrizal, as well as Yusra Ahmad Abroorza, a young poet from West Kalimantan.
The goal is to give a wide perspective as a form of community development through participatory communication, as well as photographs by local communities.
Cystal Eye (in brief)