Aim­ing to pre­vent land con­flict with vil­lage maps


Geared with a GPS (Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem), three vil­lage com­mu­ni­ties in the Sam­bas Re­gency, West Kal­i­man­tan cre­ated their vil­lage maps. By cre­at­ing maps, they wanted to pre­vent land con­flicts and avoid the threat of land claim­ing. Three vil­lages are Lela, Tri Man­dayan, and Se­bagu in Teluk Kera­mat Sub­dis­trict, Sam­bas. “Why should (we) cre­ate a map? Be­cause there are the threat of land con­flicts be­tween mem­ber of com­mu­ni­ties, be­tween vil­lages, and threats from the out­side, the en­try of the palm oil com­pa­nies to Lela. We are con­cerned about these threats” said Iskan­dar, a mem­ber of the Lela Vil­lage Map­ping Team in Se­bagu Vil­lage, Sam­bas.

All this time, said Iskan­dar, Lela has never had a de­tailed map of the vil­lage that in­cludes re­gion bor­der. As a re­sult, bound­aries near neigh­bour­ing vil­lages were still un­clear and only based on each other claims. Thus, land con­flicts be­tween Lela vil­lagers with neigh­bor­ing vil­lages could oc­cur at any time. “I ex­pe­ri­enced it when I was about to clear the for­est for rub­ber plan­ta­tion,” he said.

Iskan­dar told, a few years ago, he cleared a for­est land for rub­ber plan­ta­tion on the bor­der of Lela Vil­lage. He started to clear the land from shrubs and small trees. How­ever, a few days later a man came to claim the land and stated that the land was not in­cluded in Lela Vil­lage re­gion. “It didn’t end with phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, only some ar­gu­ments, “he said.

De­part­ing from sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences shared by other vil­lagers, as well as con­cerns of the threat of land claim­ing by the palm oil com­pany that wanted to en­ter the vil­lage that time, the com­mu­nity agreed to cre­ate their vil­lage map. Map­ping be­gan in June 2011 ac­com­pa­nied by Wa­hana Visi In­done­sia (WVI) Sam­bas. Prepa­ra­tion of maps was done with meth­ods of par­tic­i­pa­tory, in­volv­ing Lela com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“This par­tic­i­pa­tory map­ping ac­tiv­i­ties is one of the SOLVE (Strength­en­ing Liveli­hoods and Re­duce Lo­cal Vul­ner­a­bil­ity) pro­grams. The back­ground was the land con­flicts in some of our as­sisted vil­lages. We fo­cus this pro­gram in Lela vil­lage for the first time, then in Tri Man­dayan vil­lage and repli­cated in Se­bagu, “said Lina Lum­ban­raja, Co­or­di­na­tor of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Pro­ject WVI Sam­bas.

Sim­ple Im­age

Ac­cord­ing to Iskan­dar, to draw up maps, they formed Team 10 con­sist­ing of 10 Lela vil­lagers. This team re­ceived map­ping ba­sic tech­nique train­ing by Par­tic­i­pa­tory Map­ping Net­work (JKPP), one of WVI’s part­ner. They were taught to mea­sure the co­or­di­nates us­ing GPS then turned the co­or­di­nates into an im­age map. “Some were tasked to op­er­ate the GPS, the oth­ers were in charge to record the GPS data,” he said.

Af­ter mas­ter­ing the use of GPS, Team 10 was di­vided into two groups work to­wards bor­der vil­lage. It took five days to tour the bor­der of Lela vil­lage. Team had to go in and out of the for­est and vil­lagers’ fields to record the co­or­di­nates of the bor­der. “Based on GPS data, we drew the map on mil­lime­ters block pa­per and then copied it onto the trac­ing pa­per,” said Iskan­dar.

Lela’s re­gion map was drawn sim­ply on a sheet of trac­ing pa­per. Vil­lagers drew it by hand, no com­put­er­i­za­tion. Although the fin­ished the vil­lage maps, there was one im­por­tant hur­dle, that is the bound­aries have not been ap­proved by the neigh­bor­ing vil­lages, like Sun­gai Kumpai, Puringan, Pedada, and Ber­lim­bang in Teluk Kera­mat sub­dis­tricts and Jawai sub-dis­trict. “Although there is yet ap­proval from neigh­bour­ing vil­lages, but now there’s alsmost no land con­flict. They know we have the vil­lage map, “he said.

Learn­ing from the Lela vil­lage ex­pe­ri­ence, Tri Man­dayan com­mu­ni­ties fol­lowed suit in cre­at­ing their vil­lage map. Pardi, Leader of Tri Man­dayan Vil­lage Map­ping Field Team said, map­ping team was also trained by JKPP and ac­com­pa­nied by WVI Sam­bas. “To get the vil­lage bound­aries co­or­di­nates, we slept in the jun­gle for 10 days, be­cause Tri Man­dayan has vast for­est, “he ex­plained.

In the thick forests, some­times satel­lite sig­nals went weak. Team mem­bers had tot climb the tree sev­eral times to en­sure GPS get a strong sig­nal, to en­sure the ac­cu­racy of the data.” For 18 days we col­lected the data from the GPS,” he said. Learn­ing from the weak­ness of Lela vil­lage, Tri Man­dayan vil­lage formed ne­go­ti­at­ing team. The task of ne­go­ti­a­tion team was to have agree­ment with the neigh­bor­ing vil­lages about the borders. Un­for­tu­nately the ne­go­ti­a­tion team which com­prised of some com­mu­nity lead­ers did not move as fast as the map­ping team field.

As a re­sult, af­ter the Tri Man­dayan vil­lage map was fin­ished, the vil­lage bor­der had not been agreed yet by the neigh­bour­ing vil­lages, namely Semata Vil­lage, Sub-Dis­trict Tan­garan; Pedada and Sekura Vil­lage, Teluk Kera­mat Sub-Dis­trict. “We are ham­pered by the map val­i­da­tion, be­cause there is no agree­ment,” he said.

More Smoothly

In Se­bagu the map­ping ran more smoothly. Ne­go­ti­at­ing team moved ahead of team field. Af­ter the vil­lage bound­aries agreed with neigh­bor vil­lages, like Tan­jung Ker­a­cut Vil­lage, Teluk Kera­mat Sub­dis­trict; Piantus vil­lage and Sekuduk, Se­jangkung Sub­dis­trict; and Tri Kem­bang Vil­lage, Gal­ing Sub­dis­trict, the field team worked with bor­rowed GPS from WVI. “There is no prob­lem. Once the map was com­pleted, the val­i­da­tion was done by the head of Piantus Vil­lage, Sekuduk, Tan­jung Ker­a­cut, Tri Kem­bang and the sub­dis­trict gov­ern­ment,” said Ba­suni, for­mer head of Se­bagu Vil­lage.

Once ap­proved at the Teluk Kera­mat Sub­dis­trict level, Se­bagu map was sub­mit­ted to the Gov­er­nance Depart­ment of Sam­bas for ap­proval. How­ever, since the 2013 up to now Sam­bas Gov­er­ment has not yet ap­proved the map made through ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of the vil­lagers.

Ac­cord­ing to Ba­suni, Sam­bas Gov­er­ment wants to match it first with Sam­bas re­gion map. Though they have to un­dergo sev­eral hur­dles, Se­bagu, Tri Man­dayan, and Lela com­mu­ni­ties now feel re­lieved and proud. Now they know the ex­act bound­aries of their vil­lage. With the vil­lage map, the land con­flicts be­tween com­mu­ni­ties have been pre­vented suc­cess­fully.

“For the peo­ple, the prob­lem of land con­flicts nowa­days is zero,” said Safirudin, vil­lager and also mem­ber of Se­bagu Vil­lage Map­ping Team.


Vil­lagers gather to as­sist the GPS map­ping pro­ject.

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