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Protecting the sacred forest


In Central Kalimantan, Photovoices International worked with the Hindu Kaharingan Dayak, an indigenous tribe who resides in Gunung Lumut Protected Forest. 


This forest is a part of the Heart of Borneo conservation project, initiated by three countries: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia to manage the tropical highland forests in Borneo. In 2008, the regency government of North Barito, where Gunung Lumut Protected Forest is located, made a proposal to change the protection status of the forest into a National Park. 


Meanwhile, the indigenous Kaharingan people regard Gunung Lumut as a sacred forest where their ancestral spirits live, and whose spiritual beliefs and rituals are tightly bound with the mountain and its surrounding natural environment. 



villages in Gunung Lumut participated in the project


villagers took part behind the camera


issues were identified


photographs were produced


photostories were exhibited



Photovoices worked with the Kaharingan communities in Muara Mea and Berong villages, which are part of the Gunung Lumut Protected Forest. Using photography and storytelling as the medium, they are encouraged to share their perspectives on the environment, socio-economy, traditions, and daily life.


The communities identified a range of critical issues, which covered the depth of traditional Kaharingan beliefs and rituals along with issues surrounding their livelihoods, wildlife and natural resources, sanitation and health, education, and infrastructure. At project's completion, they presented a comprehensive perspective that could assist stakeholders in the formulation of sound policy. 

  • A workshop (including an exhibition and presentations by the participants) was organized at the Regency office, and discussions yielded recommendations on a range of conservation and development issues.  

  • The photographs were also presented by local photographers at a Trilateral Meeting (Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia) held in 2011 in East Kalimantan. ​

  • At the village level, the photographs and stories were shared during Musrenbang (Consensus-based Development Planning); an annual forum for stakeholders both from the government, private sector, and from the general public to discuss village development planning. 


Heart of Borneo Initiative

Regency Government of North Barito, Central Kalimantan

The Village Governments of Muara Mea and Berong

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