Day 8 - February 13, 2004
The morning began with a set of limbering stretches led by BK Benthoa here representing the Equator Prize finalists from Sri Lanka. After discussion of the upcoming overnight weekend field trip arranged for the participants, discussion turned to the break out groups for the morning.
Following the working group discussion the representatives of Pred Nai Community Forest Group from Thailand took the floor. The organization seeks to preserve one of Thailand's last remaining mangrove ecosystems and establish sustainable fishing practices in the area. The community has successfully created a community based management network that involves government officials, village elders, and local fisherman.
The Ngata Toro Community was the next to present. Their philosophy was expressed as the following: Mahintuwu mampanimpu katuwua toiboli Topehoi, which means to protect and preserve together our life and environment as bestowed by God. The Toro community began documenting indigenous knowledge, customary laws and tradition in 1993 and created a Lobo, or customary house. Further working to better include women and economic activities, the Toro community began a new phase in July of 2000. An obvious strength in this phase Rukmini Toheke is a voice that demands recognition and support. The group now works collectively to help spread the conservation and poverty reduction initiatives that have had local success.
Although having been the most predominant display in one corner of the Kampung, Podujana Himikam Kamituwa from Sri Lanka finally had a chance to present their work to the group. Having woven a mat that read "Community Kampung" there was a presentation of the mat to Sean Southey, manager of the Equator Initiative. The Rush and Reed Conservation and Diversification Program seeks to rehabilitate rice paddy ecologies through rush and reed conservation. The income generating production if many reed based products has significantly reduced local poverty levels.
Following lunch the last group of the day was given the opportunity to present. Proyecto NASA of Columbia, represented by Ezekiel Talanga and Nelson Cruz, is a project created by the indigenous Paez people. The project has many components including education, the preservation of traditional medicinal techniques, and the introduction of agroforestry techniques.
To complete the week the group welcomed the presentation of a film and discussion about an ecotourism initiative in the Indian Periyar Tiger Reserve.
To start the weekend, many participants, equipped with dance lessons from facilitator Benson Venegas, headed of to various Kuala Lumpur dance clubs.