07.04.2020

The colours of Borneo: An illustrated book about culture and environment

Presentation of the illustrated book Varna-Warni Borneo Panda CLICK! Bersama Masyarakat Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan Barat dan Kapit, Sarawak Photo: WWF Malaysia/Ezen Chan

Presentation of the illustrated book Varna-Warni Borneo Panda CLICK! Bersama Masyarakat Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan Barat dan Kapit, Sarawak Photo: WWF Malaysia/Ezen Chan

Borneo is a biodiversity hotspot in Asia. Rural communities living in the heart of the island produced a coffee table book entitled, “Warna-Warni Borneo: Panda CLICK! Bersama Masyarakat Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan Barat dan Kapit, Sarawak” (Colours of Borneo: Panda CLICK! With Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan and Kapit, Sarawak Communities). This book displays stories and photographs of and by the people from eight villages. It is a reflection of a colourful Borneo, known for its diverse peoples, cultures, landscapes and nature.

The communities came together under one interactive and visual programme known as Panda CLICK!, to provide readers with photographic insights into their daily lives. It has been widely used in Indonesia to advocate for positive changes among rural communities. The word Panda is synonymous with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that uses panda as its logo while CLICK! is the acronym for ‘Communication Learning towards Innovative Change and Knowledge’.

The programme, which ran for about one year, had 19 participants from Sarawak and 31 participants from Kapuas Hulu. They managed to take 140,000 pictures with various themes such as environment, traditional knowledge, daily activities, cultures as well as infrastructure in their surrounding areas. The participants were also trained in public speaking; to help them explain the pictures they took.

Group photo with Panda CLICK! participants. Photo: WWF-Malaysia/Ezen Chan

Speaking at the book launch, Douglas Pungga, Bukit Mabong District Officer said, “Besides featuring the beautiful culture of the people, the book portrays the diverse flora and fauna in the Heart of Borneo.” He also urged the participants to continue to take photographs in their respective villages although the Panda CLICK! Programme has ended as it can help government agencies to be aware of the development and issues in the area.

Henry Chan, Conservation Director, WWF Malaysia also said, “Through these pictures and stories, stakeholders can anticipate and understand the impacts of development on the communities. These can be seen through changes to the flora and fauna in their area, as well as their cultural practices. This photo documentation can also be used as a tool to lobby the government and its departments to increase their annual budget in conservation especially in areas concerning development surrounding Indonesia and Malaysia borders, especially in Heart of Borneo. He further reiterated that it is only through sustainable development that we can make sure that our nature and natural resources can be conserved and restored for the people and wildlife’s well-being.

This book is a joint publication by WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Indonesia under the transboundary conservation project, Green Economy in the Heart of Borneo, supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany through the International Climate Initiative (IKI). It is currently only available Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia languages; however, the English version will be available by end of 2020.