What is the Mentawai Cultural and Ecological Education Program (CEEP)?

CEEP is a community-driven initiative designed to provide Indigenous Mentawai with the opportunity to reconnect with and learn the most important and relevant aspects of our cultural and ecological education.

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 are held twice per week during the first 6 months and eventually be run on a daily basis.

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

CEEP is an non-formal, extra-curricular activity and is held during the afternoon between the hours of 2-6pm. Formal schooling hours are timetabled between 8am-12pm Monday to Saturday. Students are encouraged to attend both.

Who is teaching the CEEP?

CEEP classes are taught by members of the Mentawai community who possess the cultural and ecological knowledge as set out within the curriculum. This will include both male and female Sikerei (shaman).

Are the CEEP educators compensated for their position?

Yes, CEEP teachers are compensated for their role – be it financially, or in common trade items. The type of payment is determined by the agreement made with the Suku Mentawai Education Foundation.

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?

We teach the students about our Mentawai history, culture and forest environment, Including topics such as : storytelling, language, 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 CEEP taught using the same formula as formal schooling?

No, we have developed a topic-based curriculum together with the Sikerei and other teachers, but each individual educator will present this in a way they feel most comfortable. This allows us to teach and learn about culture and the forest environment in a way most natural to Mentawai people.

Who initiated the CEEP and why?

We, the Mentawai people, initiated and developed this CEEP program as a means to reconnect with our culture and land to enrich our lives and prevent long-term poverty. We identified that a vast majority of our population has been displaced from Mentawai culture and has very limited or no access to learning about it. Our community surveys and extensive research found that the community do want this education and believe it vital to our health and wellbeing, so we responded with the CEEP.

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

Of course. This CEEP has been developed based on our current situation, but if this is to change then so must the formula or focus of our program. Suku Mentawai Education Foundation will continue monitoring and evaluation throughout the life of our CEEP and through this make adjustments accordingly. These evaluation reports will be available to read or download here on the Suku Mentawai website.

Is the CEEP taught throughout all of Mentawai?

We are currently implementing the CEEP in the central and southern Siberut Island district. However, over the coming 5-10 years we plan to expand this program throughout the all districts in Mentawai.

Are the Mentawai Government in support of this program?

Yes, we have presented our CEEP to the heads of various Mentawai Government departments, including the Bupati himself, and they support our initiative. The Education department is interested in integrating our program / curriculum within the formal school program, which we are currently negotiating.

What are the major costs involved in implementing the CEEP?

The major costs include the design and publication of a Mentawai Dictionary, Cultural Education Booklet, and the construction of a Cultural Learning Centre. Major surface costs include wages for CEEP educators, craft and other materials to be used within the day-to-day classes, cultural uniforms, and socialisation and expansion activities throughout the Islands. There are also Yayasan Pendidikan Budaya Mentawai foundation costs involved to enable the CEEP implementation, management and growth.

Will this CEEP be self-sustained by the community?

Sustainability is one of our three key focuses within our development strategy. One major component of this is our Mentawai Ecotourism model, which has been designed to improve the relationship between tourists and the Mentawai people and forest. 10% of all proceeds will go toward our CEEP. We are also in the process of developing and strengthening relationships with other local and Indonesian entities to enable sustainability. Not-for-profit, IEF, is committed to providing implementation support over the next 10 years.

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

Information on how you can support can be found on our donation page here or on the IEF website.

If I donate via IEF, how much of my money will go toward the CEEP?

Outside of the Paypal/Banking transaction fees, 100% of donations made to Yayasan Pendidikan Budaya Mentawai via IEF will go toward the implementation of Mentawai’s CEEP.