​​​What They Say: Environmental Education For Villagers Living Adjacent to Forest Areas

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Humans need to conserve nature as the source of their life. Conserving nature means securing the future for the next generations to come. For a better understanding of the importance of nature conservation, environmental education is a must. There are many ways we can start edifying people about the environment.

For instance, in Mandailing Natal District, North Sumatra Province, where 95% of the population is Moslem, a religious approach is most appropriate to introduce environmental education. During the fasting month last June and July, the Batang Gadis National Park (TNBG) Office, Mustafawiyah Purba Baru Islamic Boarding School (PP), Conservation International (CI), Sumatra Rainforest Institute (SRI), and Organsasi Konservasi Rakyat (OKR) collaborated to hold an event called Safari Ramadhan. The event was a five-day road trip organized to introduce and communicate environmental education to the people from several villages.

The road trip took place from 22-26 June 2016 and visited four villages directly adjacent to the Batang Gadis National Park (Hutaraja, Sirambas, Roburan Dolok, and Sibanggor Jae). Fifty (50) people from each village were estimated attending this activity, and approximately 20% of them were females.

The event started at 4 p.m. and consisted of a screening of short environmental films, a lecture by PP Mustafawiyah, and iftar. The two films screened were a film from the "Alam Berbicara" campaign and a documentary on the biodiversity of TNBG. Customary leaders, religious figures, women's groups, Hatobangon (honored elders of the village), and Naposo Nauli Bulung (village youths) were seen participating in and showing enthusiasm for the event.​ (Hasby Hasbulloh/September 9, 2016)​

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Edit Title:Hafnan Aziz Hsb, M. PdI, Ustad/Guru Pondok Pesantren Musytafawiyah
Edit Text: “I think Safari Ramadhan, which was held by CI and PP Mustafawiyah by involving TNBG, SRI, and OKR, is very beneficial. It encourages people to learn about the importance of conserving nature as a blessing from the God. In this event, the school took part by reminding people in the villages we visited of how important it was to conserve the environment from the perspective of religion and to connect the effort with government regulations on nature and environmental management. I’d like to thank TNBG, SRI, and OKR for their contribution to making Safari Ramadhan a successful event in the four villages. Hopefully, next year it’s going to be even better and more successful.“
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Edit Title:Bobby Novandry, Head of Administration Subdivision, Batang Gadis National Park
Edit Text: “This kind of event became an entry point for us, the TNBG Office, to revitalize the TNBG management collaborative forum. Thank you very much CI for bringing the TNBG Office and PP Mustafawiyah together in a joint environmental campaign. It’s a great privilege for us to work together with them because an Islamic boarding school is a respected institution in Mandailing Natal District, which is ideal for conveying conservation values. Conservation work cannot finish on their own and nobody can finish conservation work on their own. Hopefully, in addition to CI, SRI, TNBG Office, and PP Mustafawiyah, we’ll be able to engage even more institutions in the future for more outreach activities similar to this Safari Ramadhan.“
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Edit Title:Edi Amin, Coordinator of Sumatra Rainforest Institute Program
Edit Text: “Safari Ramadan Environmental Education with PP Mustafawiyah, TNBG Office, CI, OKR, and SRI was a great opportunity to take advantage of the Ramadhan month to gather and communicate with the communities and build their awareness of nature conservation. The moral value we’d like to share with them through the film screening and religious lecture is that we need responsible management of nature. We can take from nature, but we should also think about its sustainability for future generations.”
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Edit Title:Enda Mora, Chairman of Organisasi Konservasi Rakyat
Edit Text: “The activity in villages adjacent to TNBG was a medium for like-minded people with the same vision and mission in sustainable landscape development to gather and share. I hope this kind of activity would continue and expand by involving even more villages to improve communication with various parties for the sake of sustainable development. Synergic communication with various parties would help with the execution of the Follow-Up Work Plan together with the government.”
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Edit Title:Syamruddin, Local Figure of Hutaraja Village
Edit Text: “The villagers of Hutaraja Village are now facing a serious threat brought by waste disposal. At the village, we dispose waste by burning them, and some of us even dump them in the river. Through this activity, we learn how to properly take care of waste. The nearby forest has blessed us with water for our daily lives, and this education program reminds us to not pollute the water with waste. We also hope the Safari Ramadhan committee would recommend the local government to provide guidance on waste management for our village.“
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Edit Title:Liah Maliana Nasution, SP, Youth of Panyabungan Jae Village
Edit Text: “Safari Ramadhan is very beneficial for us, the nauli bulung (female youths) in the village. Through this activity, we broaden our knowledge and awareness of environment and nature. I hope this activity would continue not only in villages within the TNBG’s buffer zone but also in every village in Mandailing Natal District. That way, people would be more aware that they can take from nature, but at the same time they should also manage the environment responsibly to make sure the benefits we’re enjoying now will be available for the next generations in the future.“
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Edit Title:Lokot, Leader of Naposo Nauli Bulung of Sirambas Village
Edit Text: “Safari Ramadhan held by PP Mustafawiyah in collaboration with other institutions has brought people together. As the Leader of Naposo Nauli Bulung, I think that this activity has made us aware that it is our responsibility to preserve and conserve the environment in our village. We will keep activities like planting trees in empty lot and ‘Clean Friday’ as a tradition to preserve and conserve the environment in our village.“
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