WWF Programme Manager, Kalimantan
With a degree in International Relations, and solid experience in establishing and running an NGO of his own, Hermayani joined WWF in 1999. His current responsibilities in Betung Kerihun National Park, Kalimantan, require him to work around – and against - the clock to turn the Heart of Borneo vision into a reality.
Hermayani’s home and workspace in Betung Kerihun is a vast national park, located near the border of the Malaysian State of Sarawak.
Not for the faint-hearted
The conservation agenda there is no easy ride: with problems like unsustainable logging and wildlife trade, Hermayani must also find ways to promote cooperation between 3 conservation areas in 2 countries (Betung Kerihun National Park in Indonesia, and Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Malaysia), as well as attracting the attention of other countries to the plight of Borneo. “To me, these larger aspects are so challenging, identifying solutions which engage international communities to understand and help local people”, Hermayani confides.
An ambassador for the Heart of Borneo
Hermayani is bringing the Heart of Borneo programme to Kapuas Hulu district, where Betung Kerihun is located. This requires introducing the Heart of Borneo concept and suggesting ways to integrate its principles into the development planning process at a district and provincial level.
His audience not only includes government agencies but also the inhabitants of the district, NGOs, academics and local media. The Heart of Borneo needs to permeate all levels of society. “My duty with my team is to engage local stakeholders at community, district, and provincial level so that the Heart of Borneo spirit takes hold at field level” he points out.
The contact with local people is what inspires and motivates Hermayani the most, feeding into his advocacy efforts: “I can work with local people to know how they cultivate and harvest the natural resources based on their traditional wisdom. This knowledge makes it easier for me to advocate and campaign on environmental issues”.
A multi-disciplinary team
Of course, Hermayani and his team are not going it alone. He acknowledges that WWF works closely with the Betung Kerihun National Park authority and the Department of Forestry. He is also no stranger to the office of the Head of Kapuas Hulu District, the Regional Planning Board and other related agencies.
Living the job
All this takes constant effort to communicate and facilitate – including late night and weekend sessions. “Most of agenda that has to be discussed with key stakeholders is conducted by informal and personal approach rather than formal communication. This process is more effective and powerful when done outside of office hours. Local people sometime only have time in the weekend to discuss the programme. So we must adjust the schedule accordingly,” Hermayani explains.
Evenings are also the time to sneak in a few hours catching up on email and liaising with the rest of the Heart of Borneo team at the head office.
Close to the heart
Not surprisingly, the places that Hermayani keeps close to his heart are those that surround him: Betung Kerihun National Park and Danau Sentarum National Park, both located in Kapuas Hulu District. Both national parks are so close that they connect, highlighting one of they key features of the Heart of Borneo: the need for holistic, large-scale management.
The US$100,000 question
Hermayani has clear objectives and a resilient motivation. So given more financial means, what would he focus on? ”I would use the money for 3 main activities,” he says. ”First, campaign by drawing from local knowledge, and create an effective communication strategy; Second, empower the community by creating a micro-finance scheme, developing a community learning centre, and establishing market links; and third, promoting policy advocacy to local government, ensuring that their policy and regulation are in line with the Heart of Borneo spirit.”