Angela Manihuruk


For several years, Angela has played an instrumental role in assisting local farmers and communities in North Sumatra to organise themselves, adopt more environmentally friendly agricultural techniques and stand up against exploitative industries. She has achieved this by helping to organise thematic discussion groups on topics such as human rights, climate change and sustainability, while also conducting various educational/training sessions on topics such as organization management, credit union management, bio-farming development and female leadership. More recently, she has been involved in lobbying and advocacy local government on behalf of these local communities, successfully securing legislation protecting the customary rights of the Pandumaan and Sipituhutan communities to protect their forest from the expansion of a pulp industry. Through mass media campaigning, she has also helped to raise public awareness on environmental issues.

Angela plans to use her grant for three main objectives. Firstly, in order to counter the implementation of a government-backed tourism ‘mega-project’ in the Toba Lake area that has failed to include local communities in its design, she intends to carry out a comparative study on Environmental- and Village Community-Based Tourism Development. Through this study, involving field visits and interviews, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how to help communities develop a strong and independent movement that can participate in and influence government policies on tourism, and ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account.

Secondly, she wishes to undertake another comparative study, this time assessing how the new village law in the area has been implemented, and what effects it has on managing village community-owned business units. She hopes to achieve this through interviews with NGO staff and village field visits. With this knowledge, she believes she will be better placed to help the 16 villages she currently assists in organising and implementing the new law.

Finally, she will use the grant to learn more about how to build an environmental movement. With this movement she aims to help to piece together the fragmented voices of those affected by development and environmental degradation in her region by promoting dialogue between them, so as to build a solid network with a common agenda and advocacy strategy.

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