Linear infrastructure development threatens elephant movement and our forest elders’ search for sustenance. Yet, tending to changing forest landscapes can uplift livelihoods and local economies. In this Valley Immersion, we traverse the districts of Tongod, Beluran and Kinabatangan to grapple with the realities of smallholder palm oil communities, and in Telupid, engage with data monitoring efforts to learn the faces and places of elephant kin as we seek reconciliation between a fragmented landscape, endangered wildlife and smallholder aspirations.
In this Valley Immersion, we trek into a unique lowland-to-highland region shared by humans, apes, birds and forest kin to ask: what does it mean to belong to Earth and connect with more-than-human beings as custodians of land and life? Held by the forest and mountain ridges, we join citizen science efforts to gather data and explore the ecology of apes and birds to help us co-sense into mutual belonging and responsibility toward critical habitats and forest life. At the same time, we seek to understand the dynamic of an existence pulled by aspirations of greater livelihood and modernity of the communities living along the edge of manmade forest boundaries.
Re-orienting our pathway towards justice for Earth and her communities brings us to a crossroad. In this Mountaintop, we will navigate the complexities of liminal spaces to ask: what does it mean to re-skill and recalibrate ourselves
for Earth with principles and practices of regeneration? Through conversation, reflection and activities, we compost our divisive, default patterns and fertilise our social soil to centre Nature as guide to ways of being and governing, seeding and tending the ground towards decolonised futures.
In this Mountaintop, we weave colourful threads of our living stories and ignite our imaginations to co-sense the futures we want. We’ll dive into ourselves and the spaces we occupy to ask the question “where will Sabah be if we continue on our current trajectory?” Then, leaping through the boundaries of time and memory, we explore issues of our territories of life – both land and sea – to visualise and embody counter-divisive practices toward co-creating our re-wilding story of Tanah & Air.
In this Mountaintop, we delve under the skin to explore the inner workings of the Self and begin an inquiry into Soil, Soul and Shadow through a series of thoughtful conversations, reflection and embodied practices. Stretching to plunge into relation with earthscapes, we discover how our stories co-create with Gaia’s – in life-death cycles – to compost new possibilities. Then, we harness personal wisdom, gather tales from across realms, and with imagination, weave mythic landscapes where self, community and ecosphere are in harmonic flow and from here, sense into a future of collective agency.
In this Valley Immersion, we expand our minds and bodies to “flow like a river” in the interplay between traditional livelihoods and contemporary co-existence, dig our hands and feet in the soil to experience the realities of restoring degraded riparian spaces fertilised by community commitment and aspiration, and grapple with the pulls of modernity. At the same time, we centre women’s voices and agency as we consider the kinds of conditions that can weave meaningful reconciliation and regeneration within a complex landscape.
Through an interplay of curious conversations, embodies practices and thoughtful exercises, this programme will shine a light on our colonial legacies of division, disconnection, devaluation and inequity, and illuminate a pathway through and toward liberation. We will consider our present-day constructions of knowledge, racialisation, rank and power, reflect on decoloniality, and imagine processes and practices of regeneration and solidarity.
This program will initiate the practice of tuning in and communing with nature, with the first day focusing on fundamental principles of connectedness with nature and the second day focusing on conscious communication and partnering with nature. Through practice and reflection, sharing and solo time, we will explore the breath, body awareness, presence, healing, grieving, sacred activism and play, and learn to be in a reciprocal relationship with nature.
This is a second iteration of Partnering with Nature. You may find Part 1 here.
This programme will focus on issues of food sovereignty and livelihoods in connection with culture, customary landscapes and local economies, while grounding in the micro experience and imagining the big picture future, and seeing the complexity and potential in between.
In this Valley Immersion, we begin at the “river” by learning about coastal communities, protected areas and fisheries, before climbing onto “treetops” to be amongst great apes. The first part of the programme will explore complexities of the “river” and the processes of building capacity and co-governance as a community. Then, hanging from metaphoric trees, we ask ourselves if it’s possible to co-exist with orangutans and gibbons, and what does that mean for building sustainable livelihoods?
This program will converge the issues of smallholder farmer livelihoods, better oil palm practices, land and labor legalities, Free Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) and High Conservation Value (HCV) Forests, and leveraging international standard platforms to address local problems.
In this valley immersion we will learn how to reclaim responsibility and rebuild relational tissue between humans and nature, to rediscover our indigenous imperative. We will learn more about KOPEL (Eco-tourism Cooperative) and their mission to create an alternative path of co-existence with the remaining rainforest habitats and eco-systems, whilst sustaining alternative livelihoods for the local communities, fishers and farmers.
In this Mountaintop Session, we make space to reawaken our sense of interconnectedness and relationship with Gaia - through a series of provocative lectures and practices - to unravel hierarchical and oppressive constructs that have severed our connection with Mother Earth.
Through a dynamic interplay and flow of provocative lectures and grounding discussions, this program will trace our shared history and development trajectory, study current power and political structures, unpack the vaults of the Patronage, and see and sense the system within which we operate. From a place of renewed awareness and recalibration, we explore our roles and responsibilities as change- makers.
The Babagon Watershed including the Babagon Dam is an important water source as it supplies 57% of clean water supply to the wider Kota Kinabalu area. The villages Kg Kolosunan, Kg Babagon Toki, Kg Tampasak and Babagon Catchment are also central and the focal point of the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Pilot Project.
This program to immerse in the Babagon Watershed area will expand our minds to “think like a watershed” and help us understand the deep and irrevocable connection between humans, ethics, aesthetics and watersheds. We honour the communities that guard our valuable water resources, just as we value the water source itself.
We continue from last year to explore the philosophy, purpose and principles of facilitative leadership and understand it in contrast with other leadership styles and models through conversation and exercises. At the same time, we delve deeper into the understanding and practice of facilitation to affect change in an increasingly complex world.
The Community Organising Leadership Training (COLT) programme was first designed by PACOS Trust and is a culmination of their 32-year experience in training community leaders across Sabah. Meanwhile, the programme on 18-21 November 2021 was a condensed iteration of extensive training work done by PACOS, and co-facilitated by FSI.
This program will open the deep discussion and journey of seeing and understanding our shared histories of war, state-making, empire building, territorialism, dividing and conquering and the collective impact on culture, religion, politics and the economy. Through selected readings and viewings, we will build a generative conversation on how our psyche, society and sovereignty have been ordered, and sense into the possibility and process of decolonization.
This program will initiate the practice of tuning-in and communing with nature. The first day focuses on fundamental principles of connectedness with nature, while the second day focuses on conscious communication and partnering with nature. Through practice and reflection, sharing and solo time, we will explore the breath, body awareness, presence, healing, grieving, sacred activism and play, and learn to be in reciprocal relationship with nature.
This session will dive into systems thinking, studying modules and hearing from leading edge systems thinkers, and engaging in grounding discussions that help connect to our local scenarios and experiences. We will study and practice through a selection of exercises and tools that help us see, sense and map the systems we are in, growing our awareness, capacity and skills as intervenors and facilitators. We will look through the lens of Complexity to sharpen our faculty and acuity as change makers.
This program will reveal the issues of wildlife, their habitat and food, and the interface with human populations and livelihoods, and highlight citizen science and advocacy and community organizing leadership as central to resilient and sustainable solutions.
This program will explore the philosophy, purpose and principles of facilitative leadership and understand it in contrast with other leadership styles and models through conversation, role play and exercises. We will learn about, discuss and practice a selection of facilitation methodologies and tools, testing them in different scenarios and group dynamics to understand their application and effectiveness as interventions within sectors and systems.
This program focuses on issues of food sovereignty and community livelihoods in connection with culture, customary landscapes and local economies. The objective of this program is to connect local experiences and realities (micro) to formal systems and plans (macro, e.g. Sabah Agriculture Blueprint) and to see the complexities and opportunities that lie in between.
Begin the journey of seeing and sensing into Sabah's history – Pre-colonial, Colonial, War, Post-colonial and Independence – and how it shaped power, politics, and the economy. We will trace our development trajectory, unpack the vaults of the linear, extractive economy and see through the system and culture of patronage that upholds and perpetuates it. We will refresh our understanding of the circular economy Forever Sabah is initiating and the generative change process it is catalysing.