Populating an earth defender seed bank ?: updates from our research

I am very pleased to give you an update on all things Earth Defenders Toolkit, and what we’ve been up to so far in 2021 ???

If you haven’t heard of the Earth Defenders Toolkit before: the Toolkit as envisioned will be composed of mapping, monitoring and digital-storytelling tools, and accompanying training materials that leverage technology to support local autonomy and ownership over data. We will also be creating a collaborative platform for local community organizations and their allies and partners to co-create the toolkit and share digital knowledge.

In the past few months, we have been hard at work conducting interviews with our partners and collaborators across the globe. We asked open-ended questions about the meaning, obstacles, needs and context of earth defender work. What resources would be most useful for communities that are on the frontlines of the struggle to defend critical ecosystems around the world, and facing emergent threats to their lands and livelihoods?

We decided to begin by conducting intensive research for two main reasons:

First, we are committed to co-creating the Toolkit with a global community of partners, and users. If you are interested in providing your own insights, please fill out this form

Second, the mission of this project is to provide and promote approaches to using technology in a way that supports local autonomy and ownership over data, and avoids creating dependencies on outside support.

In order to do that, it is important for us to consider the big picture, and broader frameworks of project design and implementation in order to ultimately develop a toolkit that directly responds to the needs articulated by earth defenders, and that will be of use to those engaged in this work.

Too often in our field, we are so engaged in the specifics of tool-building or project implementation that we don’t take the time to think about the broader processes in which a tool or technology comes into play.

The Earth Defenders Toolkit provides us with an opportunity to ask these larger questions of communities and allies working across diverse settings, and our goal is to reduce these blind spots as much as possible as we build resources on using tools and technologies directly for the benefit of communities. 

As we come to the close of this initial research phase, we would like to share a few insights that have emerged from these conversations. These will be posted in the weeks to come, and grouped together with the title ? #EarthDefendersToolkit Seedbank ?

It is important to note that the Toolkit is designed to be a work in progress. So, while these insights are not fully fleshed out, we are eager to share them with you for consideration and discussion as we begin prototyping specific products for the Toolkit. As always we welcome your thoughts and feedback! ?

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