5 December, 2019

Online publications help expand Tebtebba’s global reach

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Tebtebba has gone a long way since it published its first material, a journal called Indigenous Perspectives, in 1998. 

The 158-page journal had two main articles:  “State of Affairs in the UN: Indigenous Peoples’ Lobbying and Advocacy in the International Arena,” and “New Global Order Takes Toll on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.” 

As a maiden issue, the journal had a short article about what the Tebtebba seeks to achieve as an organization concerned with indigenous peoples’ rights and issues. It had two annexes: the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a paragraph-long provision of Article 8j under Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity concerning “in-situ conservation.”

The journal was distributed to Tebtebba’s partners, donors and supporters either by mail or personally transported by some staff when they would participate in out-of-town conferences or workshops. Tebtebba’s publications are still distributed through the same means.

But there is a new way of distributing the publications, which many civil society organizations hardly imagined in the 1990s—online. 

So as Tebtebba eventually ventured into publishing books (many of which have been the results of researches), magazines, resource books and training modules, these continue to be distributed by mail to donors, partner organizations, networks, government agencies and school libraries.  Some staff still bring along with them publication copies when they participate in out-of-town meetings. Some are consigned to some bookstores in some key cities nationwide. 

But at the same time, these same materials could be downloaded by a click of mouse through a link in Tebtebba’s website, www.tebtebba.org.

Since2008 when it established its website, Tebtebba has since been improving its digital archive in the publication and multimedia section of its website. These digital publications contain magazines, books, journals, and training modules, which are categorized into different topics.

Topics include biodiversity and traditional knowledge, climate change, indigenous peoples’ rights, indigenous women, and indigenous peoples’ self-determined development. Another section of the website is its online news service—the Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service (TIIS) and the Tebtebba Bulletin.

Tebtebba’s e-publications in its Tebtebba website have proved helpful for indigenous peoples, supporters and advocates, who have no access to getting hard copies of the organization’s publications but have access to the internet.

Archiving digital publications started in 2009 when the Tebtebba website was redesigned. Some 100 titles can now be downloaded. These include eight Indigenous Perspectives journals, nine Tebtebba magazines, five AIWN (Asian Indigenous Women Network) magazines, three training modules and resource books, four titles on the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) series, two  titles on indigenous peoples and sustainable development,  four brochures, and 32 books on other topics. Thirty three TIIS articles are also readily downloadable.

The “Indigenous Peoples & the Convention on Biological Diversity—An Education Resource Book,” which was published in February 2012, topped the list of Tebtebba’s most downloaded books. As of latest count, the resource book has 37,052 downloads, followed by the Tebtebba brochure, which has 14,503 downloads.

Included among the top ten most downloaded are these books – “Understanding the Lumad,” 12,263 downloads; “Indicators Relevant for Indigenous Peoples,” 7,044;  “We, Indigenous Peoples,” 5,803;  “Indigenous Women, Climate Change and Forests,” 4,129;  “Pancur Kasih Credit Union Movement (Volume 2),” 4,129;  “Stories of Eugene, the Earthworm: Learning and Teaching Vermiculture in Baguio City,” 3,762; “Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement (Volume 1),” 3,497; and “Guide on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples, 2nd ed.,” 3,237.

A story about the Dayak, who were among the most discriminated indigenous peoples in Indonesia, was the most downloaded article of the Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service or TIIS. The article, “Self-determined development approaches: Indonesia’s Dayak show way out of poverty,” has 1,324 downloads. 

Also among the top five most downloaded articles are “Respecting Indigenous Peoples' Sacred Sites,” “Best Practice Stories Inspire Hope for Philippine Indigenous Communities,” “Indigenous Peoples Enhance Traditional, Earth-Friendly Livelihoods,” and “Community Maps Can Empower Indigenous Peoples to Assert Land Rights.” (Paul Michael Nera, Tebtebba)