Learn to use the SIGAP app for forest conservation.
SIGAP particpants Learn to use the SIGAP app for forest conservation. © The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Indonesia

SIGAP: Inspiring Community Actions for Change

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In Indonesia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is using smartphone technology to revolutionize how forests are protected.

With support from the NetHope 2017 Device Challenge grant, we are helping villagers adopt the SIGAP (an acronym meaning: inspiring community actions for change) approach, which was created by TNC. Bolstered by smartphone technology, SIGAP is helping to improve village governance, create economic opportunities and manage natural resources.

Using smartphones and the SIGAP app, remote communities in four provinces are transforming how they communicate about how they can improve their village governance, create economic opportunities and better manage natural resources. We’ve reached over 500,000 people, and we plan to scale up by introducing SIGAP to a total of 300 villages, helping to improve forest management across 13 million acres by 2022. This effort is the first of its kind in Indonesia.

The SIGAP approach supports villagers to first identify, and then internalize, the fact that they have exceptional strength and abilities to take actions to change their lives as well as preserve their environment.

Director of TNC’s Indonesia Terrestrial Program
Carbon monitoring in forest one of the land use types that WAC (ICRAF (now World Agroforestry Centre or WAC) carbon measurement project).
Indonesia Forests Community members monitor and patrol their forest. © Bridget Besaw

Often communities feel pressured to convert their natural resources and find it challenging to balance economic growth and natural resource conservation. Furthermore, forest-dependent villages are often limited by inadequate technical skills, exclusion from government land use planning, a lack of alternate livelihood options and other challenges that prevent their ability to fight deforestation, coastal destruction and other ecological damage.

The villages that we have targeted are located in areas with significant intact tropical forests and coastal ecosystems where villagers are committed to SIGAP that helps them to:  

  • improve their leadership skills,
  • develop village and land use plans,
  • advance new livelihood options through sustainable agriculture and marketing of forest products such as small-scale rubber plantations and honey
  • improve forest management through community patrols that protect against illegal logging and poaching, and
  • gain access to rights over their forests.

We are continuing to expand our reach and improve the SIGAP app 2.0 to promote the SIGAP approach as a way to achieve communities’ visions for the future.