Photovoices International
Jul 20
July 20, 2014

The Environment and Indonesian Communities: Part 1


In Indonesia illegal logging and forest degradation destroy nearly 1 million hectares of forest each year, endangering indigenous species, threatening livelihoods, and contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The Clinton Climate Initiative works alongside the Indonesian government on nine Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects that support local government, community organizations, and private investors to protect 700,000 hectares of forest and areas of high biodiversity. CCI also works with local populations to understand the direct impact of these projects and best serve the needs of the community.

With the help of Photovoices International, we are empowering local populations to document the way the environment affects core issues in their communities such as agriculture, health, education, and the economy. Through this program 32 local community photographers were trained – who had never used a camera before – to document issues important to them, including biodiversity, culture, and village life. At a major public exhibition of their work in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, the community photographers used their pictures to present unfiltered, local knowledge to government officials and the wider community. 

Over the next week, we will feature photos from this Indonesian community. View part one of this photo series below.

Photovoices International

Many villagers in Katingan, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia live on or near a river or canal from which they source a major part of their livelihoods. Changes to the environment have a direct impact on village life. 

Photovoices International

A local fisherman adjusts his fishing net in Katingan, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. For the villagers of Katigan, fishing and rice production are the main sources of income and food, so protecting local ecosystems in the rivers and nearby agricultural lands is essential to their livelihoods.

Photovoices International

The forest provides many resources for the villagers in Katingan. While there is a variety of animal species that inhabit the wooded areas, wild game is often scarce. Instead the peat land and different types of trees are cut and used for different purposes within the village and made into products that are sold at market.

There are three types of rattan: Sigi rattan, which grows on trees, and is softer; Irit rattan, which crawls along the ground; and Bulu rattan, which hangs like vines from the trees and is softer than Sigi. All grow wild in the forest and are also collected by villagers. Recently, villagers have been trying to plant Bulu rattan in their plantations. Once the rattan is planted, it can be harvested after 5 years. And in the future the people can harvest (memagat) after only 1-2 years. The rattan grows 2 meters per year. 

Photovoices International


The canals and creeks are the transportation routes for villagers to travel to their fields or to other villages. In summer these canals and creeks recede, therefore making it difficult for a boat to traverse through them. Because of the difficulty of this terrain, the risk of damage to the boat, and the price of the fuel, the cost of owning and operating a boat is very high. 

It takes a full day to collect rattan, which usually lasts from 7am into the evening. People have the opportunity to collect the rattan year-round in their plantation, but because of the uncertain, generally low prices, people consider this as the last resort for livelihood activities when fish are difficult to find or the crops are not satisfactory.

This week, President Clinton is traveling throughout Southeast Asia where he is visiting Clinton Foundation projects and partners to see how we're impacting individuals and communities firsthand. On Monday, July 21, President Clinton will visit a Clinton Climate Initiative project in Borneo, Indonesia, where we've worked to conserve forest, protect biodiversity, and support local communities through carbon credits. Follow the trip on Twitter using the hashtag, #CFAsia2014.