Protecting Forests through Supporting NTFP Artisans

By F. Wendy Tamariska, GPOCP Sustainable Livelihoods Manager
GPOCP was invited to participate in the Pemberdayaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga (PKK) or Family Welfare Empowerment Exhibition in West Kalimantan this month. To begin, I would like to start with a brief history of PKK. This organization was founded in Bogor, Java in 1957. PKK’s main priorities were to develop home economic initiatives, especially for women, to help with societal hunger. This organization is still in practice today, and works with local communities to develop artisan handicrafts.
From May 16-18, the PKK gave communities in West Kalimantan the opportunity to promote and display their respective handicraft and agriculture products. The exhibition, held in Sukadana, had over 100 different types of handicraft products available for purchase and GPOCP was fortunate to be invited to participate in this event. We worked with our Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) groups to market and sell their pandanus and nipah leaf products.
The GPOCP booth filled with visitors during the West Kalimantan Family Welfare Empowerment Exhibition.
Currently, we have 34 active NTFP members in our groups from several villages throughout the Kayong Utara district. Our artisans are part of the indigenous community surrounding Gunung Palung National Park. Some of the products displayed and sold at the exhibition include bags, baskets, plates, mats, wallets and jewelry. These are all handmade using traditional weaving methods with natural resources sustainably harvested from the forest.
One highlight of the event was when Pak Hildi, the Bupati, or District Head, of Kayong Utara, visited our display. He explained to other visitors in the tent about GPOCP, “These artisans are the people who were built by GPOCP and with them, we can protect the forest!” It was an honor to know that Pak Hildi knows of our artisans and programs and supports our work!
The Bupati of Kayong Utara paid a visit to our booth and explained to visitors about the work of our artisans and GPOCP’s other programs.

Another highlight was a visit from Ibu Frederika Comelis, the Chairwoman for PKK. She commented on the high quality and techniques of our artisans’ woven products. With the attendance of such high officials throughout the area, our booth attracted many people throughout the Expo. The artisans’ also used this opportunity to gain valuable feedback from the community on how to better develop their products for the local market.

The Governors’ wife also paid a visit to our booth and posed with some of our artisans’ products.
Photos © GPOCP.