Providing the Climate Champions with Precious Lessons
Never look down on people who are socially lower than us. Who knows, they might play a key role in our future work. That was one of the important lessons that Joyce Djaelani Gordon tried to drive into the ten participants of Project Management and Leadership for Climate Change Workshop (PMLCC Workshop), held by British Council and Ashoka Foundation in June 2010 in Depok, West Java.
Joyce, a psychologist who deals with problems of drug addiction and HIV-AIDS among teenagers, might seem to be trying to instil an old truism. As the message was conveyed with examples of real cases, however, the workshop participants concurred and were inspired by it. Indeed, Joyce’s arena has not been that of climate change, but her vast experience helped the participants learn a lot about project management.
Gusti Ayu Fransiska, a participant from Denpasar, Bali, for example, admitted that she learned much hands-on knowledge she had never thought of before, like ways to collect signatures or bring together as many volunteers as possible to start a campaign. “Networking is the key,” said the young woman who went by the name of Siska. She dreamt that one day the world would adopt Nyepi Day—the Hindu Day of Silence—as World Silent Day, so that carbon emission can be reduced.
Like other participants, Siska has started off independent activities in her neighbourhood to fight against climate change. This workshop has therefore been designed to assist further the work of these new climate champions, for example by inviting last year’s climate champions to speak.
For example, Silverius Oscar Unggul, also known as Onte, shared the story of SmartWood, an environmentally-friendly forestry industry in Southeast Sulawesi. The enterprise, which had succeeded in saving the forest while simultaneously increasing the income of local villagers by fourfold, proved to be a rich source of fascinating stories.
“Bang Onte’s story encouraged me further to work in the environmental arena,” said Aqdar Maskur, a workshop participant from Makassar, South Sulawesi, who is developing a credit scheme for farmers with environmentally-friendly production processes.
Eight other participants, M. Apip Firmansyah, Laila Nurrokhmah, and Dino Fitriza (all three are from Bandung, West Java), Nina Nuraniyah (Bogor, West Java), Boimin (Malang, East Java), Budiono (Surabaya, East Java), Muhammad Ichwan (Tulungagung, East Java), and Mesiyarti Munir (Jakarta) also displayed similar enthusiasm.
Such enthusiasm was evident in the discussion sessions; these sessions took place every time one of them finished presenting the project he or she was working on. While all of them are working to support climate security, the projects the ten participants have embarked upon are of many different kinds; the projects include public awareness campaigns, the processing of seafood with less-known raw materials, the use of garbage or refuse, and the construction of an Internet site that enables all environmental activists (donors, non-governmental organisations, media) to “find their mates”.
Such variety was beneficial because, apart from acquiring new knowledge, the participants would be able to discover their weaknesses and learn from their colleagues. “With the discussions, I was able to see more clearly the direction in which my project should be developed,” said Dino.
After the workshop, the ten climate champions were requested to submit proposals, which would then be selected by British Council Advisory Board. Two best projects would receive funding from British Council.
Budiono, the participant from Surabaya, said that it would certainly be nice to receive funding, but that had never been his obsession. “The most important thing for us all is to become real social entrepreneurs in climate security,” he said. It’s the attitude of a true champion, indeed.