What is the Cultural and Environmental Education Program (CEEP)?

CEEP is a community-driven indigenous educational program designed to provide indigenous Mentawai with the opportunity to reconnect with and learn the most important and relevant aspects of their native cultural and environmental education.

How do we know this is what the community wants?

Our focus, following the IEF program model, is based primarily on community-research and engagement; ensuring we obtain an accurate understanding of the specific issue being faced by the community. If their circumstance then meets the criteria set out by our goals and objectives we offer our support to key local members who are seen taking ownership in the development of their own educational solution.

Is the Mentawai CEEP targeted toward a specific community?

The program will initially be implemented within a designated settlement village situated in the south of Siberut Island. However, with minor customisations, this model is suitable for any Mentawai community who expresses a desire to reconnect with their native culture, education and self-sustaining practices.

What is the CEEP implementation timeline?

The program will very much be controlled by the local community however we’ve set our monitoring and evaluation component for a 24-month period; after which ongoing assessments and forward planning will be finalised and presented.

What age or gender group is the CEEP targeted toward?

There are no limitations on age or gender.

How often do the CEEP gatherings happen?

The gatherings will be held at least one afternoon per week. However, this may be expanded to run two, three or more times a week if participation levels require.

Does the CEEP conflict with the community’s current schooling activities?

CEEP will be held during the afternoon between the hours of 2-6pm. Even if held on a weekday it will not conflict nor clash with the current school program as elementary, junior and senior schooling here is timetabled between the hours of 8am-12pm. Students are encouraged to attend either.

Who will be representing Suku Mentawai and working with the local community to implement the CEEP?

Key members of the Mentawai community who were engaged during the research component have been appointed as Suku Mentawai representatives and will control all dealings and interactions with the community.

Who is teaching the CEEP?

CEEP activities will be hosted by a combination of both male and female Sikerei (shaman) whose societal role is to educate the Mentawai community.

Are the CEEP educators compensated for their position?

Yes, but the type of compensation will be determined by the local community and is dependent upon the development of a sustainable payment system that is suitable to their current social and economic situation.

Are there any fees involved for those wanting to attend the CEEP?

No, the program is free for all those interested.

What kind of skills and activities will they learn during the CEEP?

The community has identified the importance of activities such as: storytelling, language, history, singing, dancing, taboos and mythology, the identification, gathering and preparation of natural medicines and other important resources, propagation of food and plant resources, hunting, techniques for farming animals such as pigs and chickens, techniques for using a machete and other survival tools, the making of cultural paraphernalia and survival items such as weaving baskets, mats, jewellery, clothing, carving wooden items and hunting equipment, building clan long-houses, roofing techniques and so forth.

Is there a set formula for how the CEEP must function?

In terms of how the CEEP will be taught, no, the Sikerei will have complete control over how they choose to educate and, likewise, students in how they choose to learn. This may sound dysfunctional but this will in fact allow the group to utilise the teaching/learning methods that are most natural and effective to them, which is also vital for sustainability.

Has the Mentawai community been involved at any stage of the CEEP planning?

The local community has been involved at every stage of the CEEP planning. Our program model focuses on community research, engagement and sustainability. During the research component key members of the community who are seen taking it upon them-selves to initiate change in the interests of improving their people’s situation are identified and engaged. Sharing with them the findings from our research and likely outcomes for their community’s future, it is they who are empowered to take ownership in educating their people and, together with other community leaders, who initiate the planning and development of the CEEP.

Will these members of the community be representing both Suku Mentawai and the local Mentawai community?

Yes, please visit our SUKU page to see who has come forward for the role of directing and managing the development and implementation of CEEP at a community level.

Can the CEEP be adapted to suit any change in the community’s social and cultural needs throughout its implementation?

Of course. The community has identified the need and design for CEEP based on their current situation, so if this is to change then so must the design or focus of their educational solution. Suku Mentawai will provide ongoing data reports with results from the monitoring and evaluation component, but again, any need for change will be identified, initiated and implemented by the local community.

Does the CEEP conflict with their Arat Sabulungan cultural practice or belief systems?

No. Given that the CEEP has been planned by local members and will be taught by Sikerei (shaman), the founders and caretakers of Mentawai culture and knowledge, their traditional practices and beliefs will be respected and integrated into all applicable aspects.

What are the major costs involved in implementing the CEEP?

Beyond general administration costs, the primary surface costs include wages for Suku Mentawai staff, office setup and rental costs, and logistics such as travel, transportation, food and accommodation.

Are there on-going costs after the implementation period or can the CEEP be self-sustained by the community?

Sustainability is one of our three key focuses. We support the community in their design and development of a system relevant to their current social and economic environment that will allow the program to be sustained and expanded by the group well into the future.

How can I be involved in supporting the CEEP and Suku Mentawai?

Information on how you can support Suku Mentawai and, in the process, help to ensure the CEEP’s implementation is successful can be found on the IEF website or on the donation page here.

If I donate, how will my donation money be used?

All donations made to Suku Mentawai will be utilized to support the implementation of Mentawai’s CEEP and the future of its indigenous peoples. We will keep you up to date on progress with photos, videos and reports from the field.