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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Origin and Approach of our project

Saving and protecting sea turtles in PNG where turtles are culturally used for feasts, ceremonial rituals and for daily consumption is what makes our project original.

But to achieve this is not easy. It demands commitment.

We will continue to build peoples capacities in order to appreciate existing traditional structures, values and systems and blend them with western and scientific knowledge and skills. This on-going training program aims to shift peoples habitual slaughtering of sea turtles to protecting and restoring their populations.

This approach provokes people into thinking, arguing, and debating over issues affecting their environment and their lives and not just turtles. It permeates them to see what is happening in and around them. They are able to assess what is happening with their cultures, social, economic, spiritual, environmental and physical life. It enables them to recognize and put into perspective what goes on within their family, clans, tribal groups, their resources, their districts, their province, their country and on a global scale. They are able to see their role in a global setting. It stimulates them to act as individuals or take up communal actions locally to make a difference globally.

How is that possible? Traditionally our parents play a primary role in educating us. They still do today. In the village setting where traditional men’s house existed, the formative role is complemented by elders grooming youths to become men. They teach them how to hunt, fish, fight, build their house, make hunting and fishing gears and so forth. These lessons are also enriched with spiritual rituals. With the colonial and Christian influence a lot of these “house man” practices have vanished as they were considered evil. Whilst few villages sustain this practice many villages have accepted western formal education as the key to successful education leading to employment opportunities in a wider environment outside of the village setting. This shift is both good and bad. As more and more people lean towards western educational concepts, they also drift away from the traditional wisdom. Many parents and elders do not have any more control over their “educated” sons and daughters. The respect that was once bestowed on elders and parents is alarmingly slipping out of grip.

Money and acquiring of wealth has also fueled this tension so much so that the clan leaders without money and wealth in the modern sense are pushed to the edges. This emerging state of clash between the traditional educational and the western educational systems has challenged us to innovate and fuse these educational trends into a concept where we encourage the use of traditional capacity building skills, knowledge, and experiences with best western non-formal educational tools and skills to reach out and make a difference.

It is in this setting where we impart knowledge and skills using diverse but simple information, communication and education tools and hands on exercises to build their capacity using available resources. We engage other stakeholders, partners, experienced and qualified learned friends also to come along and enhance our training programs.

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