Welcome Ben Tairea, the new Earth Defenders Toolkit (EDT) Community Steward!
We are thrilled to welcome Ben Tairea as the EDT Community Steward. Ben is Maori from the Cook Islands and has been a long-time inspiration to us. In 2018 he co-founded the Āhau tool, a tribal management and cultural archiving platform (a featured tool in the Earth Defenders Toolkit) and has since been supporting Indigenous communities to develop their capability and access to digital tools.
Ben joins the EDT team to help expand the community engagement with the Earth Defenders Toolkit and to broaden our network of community members, developers, allies, and others both in virtual and physical spaces.
Want to meet Ben? Ben is leading a new series of EDT sharing sessions and we would love to have you there! Keep an eye on the @digidem twitter for updates on these sessions. Learn more about Ben in his bio and in this blog post.
Huge gratitude and thanks to outgoing EDT coordinator, Rudo Kemper
We want to express our gratitude and love to Rudo Kemper, who for the past two years was the Earth Defenders Toolkit lead. Since joining our team in October 2020, he was the motor behind the toolkit, keeping all the gears moving in harmony and success, and creating and strengthening bonds with many of you and others that are part of the EDT family!
Moreover, he is the founder and a core steward of the open-source application Terrastories, used by Indigenous communities across the world to map their place-based oral histories. Terrastories is a featured tool in the toolkit, which Digital Democracy is now stewarding along with volunteer support.
Although he will no longer be the lead and most visible face of Earth Defenders Toolkit, we are thrilled to continue collaborating with Rudo through Terrastories, and are excited that he is deepening his work on Indigenous land rights issues in his role as Chief Program Officer of Cadasta. Congratulations Rudo! We wish you all the best on the next stage of your path, and to our future collaborations.
New resources for earth defenders
Our team has been busy building out new resources on the Earth Defenders Toolkit website. These include:
- A curated list of pedagogical resources for earth defenders, such as training modules, posters, maps, infographics, and more.
- A new collection of support materials for Terrastories, a tool for oral and place-based storytelling.
- A section of training support materials on Mapeo, including best practices, tips and suggestions, ideas for exercises, presentation templates, and other materials for training a team to use Mapeo for mapping or monitoring.
The Mapeo Icons Generator – a first step in the direction of making the customization of Mapeo more accessible to community users. It is a simple web app that enables searching icons in different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese for now), choosing their color, and finally downloading them in the right formats to be used in the Mapeo custom configuration creation process. Read more about it in this blog post.
What’s next for the Earth DefendersToolkit?
We’ve got more guides we’re releasing soon, including the inspiring story of how the Wayana organization the Mulokot Foundation of Suriname released their own consultation protocol for outsiders who want to work with them. grounded in their own traditional customs, practices, and values.
Next month, we’re hosting the first in-person gathering of the Earth Defenders Toolkit network, with frontline environmental defenders coming together from around the world for a gathering in Ecuador. We look forward to sharing stories from this first-of-its-kind convening.
If you have any questions about these sessions, please contact Ben at [email protected]
Acknowledgment: Earth Defenders Toolkit is being built in solidarity, consultation, and co-creation with Indigenous and marginalized communities in Latin America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan African at every point of the way. We are deeply grateful to our partners who are working to achieve transformative change, and help us understand how we can best serve their needs.
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