50 young people of #PahlawanGambut South Sumatra ready for the Sustainable peatland management, present and future

Through the Peat-IMPACTS Indonesia program, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) started an initiative called #PahlawanGambut. #PahlawanGambut is the branding activity to gather knowledge, learning, understanding, and various ideas related to sustainable peat management by activists, researchers, business actors, farmers and the young generation in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan. This collection of knowledge will then be used to jointly strengthen governance and stakeholder capacity in Indonesia’s peatlands.

One of the #PahlawanGambut activities is the South Sumatra Junior Peat Research Incubator Program (IPMG), which started from October 2020 to February 2021, in 32 villages in Ogan Komering Ilir and Banyuasin Districts. This program has invited 50 of 25 young women and 25 man graduates from tertiary institutions in South Sumatra to work for 3-4 months with ICRAF researchers, peat farmers and activists to uncover various knowledge, lessons learned and intervention options for well-manner managing sustainable peatlands in South Sumatra. The implementation of this activity went well and produced junior South Sumatra cadres who enthusiastic in peatlands and are ready to contribute in sustainable peatland management.

As the final program of 50 #PahlawanGambut Chapter-1 South Sumatra, ICRAF carried out a seminar on March 10, 2021. A collection of 40 Scientific Studies were presented based on experiences and lessons learned related to problems in peatlands, including land use in the peat ecosystem, gender equality, prime commodities and their problems, the need to strengthen community institutions, towards best agricultural practices, efforts to improve livelihoods society, and various farming patterns from an economic perspective. This compiling opinions, experiences and information that can be used as input for policymaker related to sustainable peat ecosystem management in South Sumatra.

In the opening remarks, on behalf of the Governor of South Sumatra, Ir. H Dharna Dahlan, MM, coordinator of Regional Peat Restoration Team South Sumatra said, “We gave high appreciation to ICRAF, and we are very proud of the junior Peat Researchers of South Sumatra. In future, they can work together with us to get as much information as needed.”

Follow with the Highlight event, ICRAF held “Dialogue across generations” on March 12, 2021, which was attended by expert speakers from various government institutions, academics, other invited guests and presented five IPMGs who shared interesting stories of the fieldwork in several villages in Ogan Komering Ilir and Banyuasin Districts. Budi Satyawan Wardhana, Deputy I-Planning and Work, Peatland and Mangrove Restoration Agency advised “Human basic provisions are learning, charity, and education, so we hope that junior peat researchers can learn to gain the level of thinking to contribute ways to solve problems; so PMG capacity will increase and more visible by means of critical thinking to jointly find solutions to problems in the field.”

Another important message was conveyed by Dr. Sonya Dewi, ICRAF Indonesia Country Coordinator, “Partnership support, mentoring, counselling between the government and the private sector are also urgently needed. The problems context in each village visited was different and several options for problem-solving interventions are needed depending on the problems that occur in each village. Sonya Dewi also emphasized that PMG is a best-graduated researcher who can be invited to become prospective researchers for government institutions related to the peat sector, whose concern and enthusiastic for peat in South Sumatra.”

The hope is that all parties can contribute actively to activities related to restoration, implementation of various environmental services, development of suitable paludiculture on peatlands and special approaches to improve the function of peat for the people of South Sumatra, Indonesia and for all of us.