VANISHING ROOTS: Mai Maasina Green Belt advocacy towards preservation and protection of Identity loss in Are’are and Kwaio.

In the month of February, Mai Maasina Green Belt’s (MMGB) Cultural officer, has managed to visit Raripaina Conservation as a follow up on the Cultural school program. MMGB currently involves three of its members in the Cultural school programs; Baru Alliance Conservation (East Kwaio), Taka-taka Eco Village Conservation (East Are’are) and Raripaina Biodiversity Conservation (Central highlands of Are’are).  

In the Central Highlands of Are’are, the geographical location of Raripaina Biodiversity Conservation. Photo: Michael

The program is a continuation from the previous project that has accomplished building of “Nima Education” in Taka-taka Eco Village, a new set of wooden drum (O’o) for Raripaina Conservation and teaching of practical cultural activities in Baru Alliance Conservation. 

Raripaina Conservation was identified as one of the sites to host cultural program in Are’are because of its pivotal location, hereditary traditional knowledge, and skill in “wooden drum (O’o) beating and Panpipe (Au).” Geographically, the location itself holds immense value and unique historical features of the name Are’are.   

The increasing challenges and evident loss of traditional governance and ecological knowledge associated with the social changes in the civil society has bolded MMGB, to continue supporting and advocate for preservation and protection of such heritage amidst its members.  

During the site visit, the cultural officer held two meetings and encouraged the community to continue supporting the two-organization committee (town and home) and any proposed work plan. Implementing such a program is an asset for the community. He further reassures the community to take ownership of the program and refrain from the money driven ego.   

The current groundwork is to renovate cultural houses “Nima ni Totoraha” and bolster the learning center for cultural school purpose or future development.  

Additionally, Baru Conservation Alliance and Taka-taka Eco Village are progressing with their respective proposed activities. Baru Conservation Alliance is administrating cultural classes at four (4) sites (Kwainisi, Fulanitofe, Kafurumu and Aifasu) and renovation of learning centers for each site. Taka-Taka eco village is pursuing compilation of information, team review and publishing of Modules (in Are’are Language) for its cultural school program.   

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