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Menoken Communities in three Indigenous Cultural Region of Papua island celebrate International Disability Day and World Noken Day 2023


Komunitas Peduli Papua (KOMPIPA) organized International Disability Day and World Noken Day activities at KOMPIPA Gardens in Sorong, West Papua on December 2, 2023. (Doc. KOMPIPA)

Menoken Communities in three Indigenous Cultural Region of  Papua island celebrate International Disability Day and World Noken Day 2023.

These Menoken community activities took place in three cultural areas in Tanah Papua – Animha in the Merauke Regency, Domberai in the Sorong Regency, and Mamta in Jayapura.

All the Menoken activities were united by a common theme: ‘Restoring Land and Water Through the Inclusive Spirit of Noken’. The variety activities ranged from planting and organic farming to thematic talk shows.

In MAMTA cultural Area 

In Jayapura  – 2 December 2023, Menoken Communities named Menoken MAMTA held the activities to commemorate International Disability Day and World Noken Day.

The activities in Jayapura were carried out by planting hundreds of tree seedlings on Kerka Hill in Dondai Village, which forms part of the Waibu District in the Jayapura Regency of Papua Province. The group planted a total of 180 moringa trees, 40 mango trees, 40 tamarind trees and 40 white teak tree seeds on Kerka Hill, which was chosen as the site for reforestation due to its potential for reducing the risk of landslides. “We started planting in the morning,” said Lusia Langowuyo, one of the Nokeners. “We started by digging holes and then planting together until the afternoon."

Lusia and the Mamta Nokeners were not alone in these activities. They worked together to  with members of the Yotoro Youth community, PAM GKI Imanuel Dondai, Bhuyakha Art Center and the Jayapura Deaf Community, along with representatives from Earth Hour and the people of Dondai Village. In addition, the activities in Jayapura featured children from the local community. They drew pictures together and then shared the stories behind their respective artworks.

By planting tree seedlings on Kerka Hill and working together in Dondai Village, members of Menoken Mamta demonstrated their shared commitment to saving the environment.

In the Domberai Cultural Area

In Sorong, International Disability Day and World Noken Day activities were held in the garden of the Papua Care Community (KOMPIPA). Participants were invited to engage in learning about sustainable agriculture and the practice of making compost from organic materials or household waste such as leftovers from vegetables, fruit, and other food scraps.

The aim of this activity was to help minimize the impact of waste and rubbish. This activity received positive feedback from officials in Klaru Village of Mariat District, the Sorong and Babinsa Districts, and the Klaru Village Guidance Officer (Bhabinkamtibmas).

KOMPIPA itself is part of the Menoken Domberai community in the Domberai traditional region of Northwest Papua, from Sorong to Manokwari. They are a community that has been in the social-cultural-environmental sector in Sorong Regency of Southwest Papua Province since 18 March 2017. This community was set up by individuals who care about the community and children in Papua.


In the Animha Cultural Area

Meanwhile, in the Merauke Regency, the Menoken activities in commemoration of International Disability Day and World Noken Day took place in the hall of the SMAN 1 Merauke building, on 3 December 2023. The series of activities carried out by the Menoken Animha community included a mini talk show, titled Inclusion and Noken Knitting Culture, along with various exhibitions of Noken in South Papua and a tree planting activity.

This series of activities in Merauke was intended to build connectivity between community groups, namely persons with different abilities, students, craftspeople, farmers and youth groups. This emphasis on connectivity is a feature of the ongoing Menoken Movement.


Culture, Nature and Enterprise

Four years since people began gathering and connecting, the Menoken movement continues to grow. At present, Menoken focuses on three main aspects: Menoken, or sharing of the actual Noken itself; restoring land and water; and supporting business entities owned by Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Community-Owned Enterprises (Badan Usaha Milik Masyarakat Adat or BUMMA.

The positive impacts of the Menoken Movement can be seen in the activities of the Menoken Animha group in Merauke. On Disability Day, a diffable person shared his story of striving to realise his dreams.  Deaf participants  were also able to communicate well during the activity  using sign language, while the other participants were  aided by a sign language interpreter (JBI).

The other two areas of focus in the Menoken Movement are restoring land and water and supporting BUMMA, or memBUMMA, and promoting these organisations to the public. This commitment was demonstrated in an exhibition of Noken crafts by the Papua Marba craftsman community, which accompanied a local food festival and tree planting activity in the courtyard of the SMA Negeri 1 Merauke, a local high school. This also included cooperation with a women’s group who make virgin coconut oil (VCO) in Onggaya, Merauke.


Cross-sectoral Collaboration

Piter Roki Aloisius from the Samdhana Institute cited planting mangroves as another example of what the Menoken Movement has accomplished in South Papua. It is a first step towards strengthening and expanding the reach of soil and water restoration projects. Further on, compiling exact data on land/forest conversion can be used as a basis for environmental restoration movements that involve collaboration across sectors. He also mentioned that there are other programs, such as those with coffee farmers im Muting and Ongayya, that they plan to work on in the future.

Marten Ayub Luturmasse from the Papua Paradise Center said that efforts to encourage the Menoken movement are wide-ranging in nature and will be held continuously. In practice, this involves in-depth communication with and support for communities in order to encourage the formation of BUMMA and build linkages with related sectors.

Yuniken Manyangsari from the Samdhana Institute briefly noted that the essence of the Menoken Movement is building connectivity. Even though it is still in the process of achieving the three main aspects, the most important thing about them is how values that are central to the Noken philosophy from Papua can benefit all regions in the archipelago.


About the Menoken Movement

Menoken is a platform for connecting communities, their products, knowledge and social solidarity. It is based on the Noken philosophy, which is centred around the values of love, compassion, solidarity, strength in flexibility, usefulness, openness, and the willingness to defend life. Activities are always informal and flexible, while friendship is prioritized. It's about gathering, camping, cooking, eating together, exchanging stories and knowledge, singing, dancing, enjoying arts and culture together, and building enthusiasm and social solidarity for a better life.



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