Last updated April 2010 
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Training MLA in Merauke Papua, Indonesia

23 February – 17 March 2009


This training activity was part of a collaborative research project between CIFOR-ENV and CIFOR-GOV on The Expansion of Plantations in Papua, Indonesia: Safeguarding Indigenous Communities’ Tenure/Resource Rights and Building Capacity for Responsible Development. Under this project, we conducted an adapted MLA training for local partners and guide them on the methods implementation in the field work.

In-house training was carried out on 23 – 27 February 2009 in Merauke and followed by field training on 2 - 17 March 2009 in Boepe Village.

The training activities focused on participatory mapping of natural resources and community lands targeted for expansion of a plantation developed by PT. MEDCO, a big pulp and paper company in Merauke District. The MLA approach was used as a tool to help understand local perception about the importance of natural resources including their value and any threats to them. In addition, MLA aimed to strengthen the capacity of indigenous communities in the southern part of Papua to protect their rights to lands and their access to natural resources. To address these goals, the MLA training was designed to provide:

  1. 1. Independent assessment of the environmental and social impacts that might occur from the plantation project.
  2. 2. Scientific and independent information for the community and other stakeholders, which might be influenced by plantation development, to enhance a better understanding of the benefits and impacts of this plantation project. These particular information, therefore, might be taken into consideration when decisions on natural resources management including land use were being made.

Training Preparation:

During training preparation, we worked closely with the project team members to discuss the data and information required. The essential questions were WHAT activities and information should be collected, WHY these were important, WHO could participate and HOW to conduct those activities. The adapted MLA was prepared for both village and field activities. We developed MLA guidelines methods in Indonesian, a series of data sheets and questionnaires to cover all the information needed. These included explanations, examples and instructions for the trainees on how they could apply the methods. See Annex 1 for detailed information. We continued developing the questionnaires and data sheets to cover all information needed.

The guidelines were important as they outlined detailed information and instructions for the trainees on how they could apply MLA methods by themselves in a real survey. The source of the guidelines was the “MLA Training Package” developed by Miriam van Heist and only available in English.

As preparation, the project team members (Agus Andrianto and Wiyono) and a MLA team member (M. Padmanaba) accompanied by three people from Merauke who were hired by the project for this activity (Marinus, Yoseph and Ricky) undertook a preliminary survey in mid January in Boepe and Senegi villages which had been selected as the study sites.


MLA in-house training in Merauke

The training began on Monday (23/02/09) and was attended by 12 participants from different institutions: Yayasan Santo Antonius or YASANTO; Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian (SKP) or Secretariat for Justice and Peace; CIFOR Merauke; Lembaga Masyarakat Adat or Traditional Community Organisation Marind; Forestry Agency Merauke Regency; and CIFOR Bogor.

During the 5 day session, participants were trained in both theory and practice on 5 major topics: community meetings, participatory mapping, the Focus Group Discussions (FGD) including Pebble Distribution Method (PDM), interviews, and ground checks. This included sharing experiences of those topics among participants. On the last 2 days, we gave some practical exercises to the participants to help them preparing the survey: how to build an MLA team, how to define “who does what”, how to develop a schedule of activities, and how to prepare the number of informants needed during the survey and compensate those informants. The session ended with a ‘general repetition’ on what all participants had learnt in order to improve their confidence and ensure that they were able to conduct the MLA survey in the field.

MLA field training in Boepe village

The first community meeting in Boepe was conducted at the head of village’s house and attended by most of the community members, i.e. groups of men, women, both old and young. One representative of the survey team explained the purpose of our visit and introduced the team members.

We started then a participatory mapping, which involved groups of men, women, of different ages. About 4 - 6 respondents participated in each group. During the first five days, our activities focused on participatory mapping to produce three types of map: a natural resources distribution map, a clan map and a traditional land use map.

A scoring exercise to establish the importance of land and forest types was started on day three and the respondents were split into two groups: men and women. Five to six respondents participated in each group. As it was their first attempt at this exercise, the four trainees worked in a group, one as facilitator and the others recording the information obtained. Based on our observations, they needed at least two days to be able to complete one scoring exercise.

On the fifth day the trainees started their field activities (ground check) based on the participatory mapping. The field team was divided into two groups, each visited different clan areas during five days. We tried to locate the important natural resources (plants, animals and sites) including some areas used for hunting, fishing, agriculture, etc.

Results of the data collection from the village and field activities will be provided at a later date, once data input is achieved.