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GeoStory Camps - Orang Rimba

In partnership with the Orang Rimba community.

The GeoStory Camps - Orang Rimba were carried out in the Bukit DuaBelas rainforest, Sumatra, with the Orang Rimba Indigenous community in May-June 2022. We have partnered with the Sokola Institute, Universitas Muhammadiyah Purwokerto, and directly with Kelompok Makekal Bersatu (the representative organization of the Orang Rimba).

Being one of the Indigenous communities that hold the most comprehensive knowledge about medicinal plants in the world, the Orang Rimba are being forced deeper and deeper into the forest, restricting their ability to subsist off their traditional lands. Monoculture plantations, predominantly palm oil, are threatening not only their safety and living spaces, but also changing the land and biodiversity within the community’s ancestral forest land.


Videography and cartography combined. 


During the first days, filmmaking students started to learn a variety of media and narrative skills including storyboarding, producing shotlists, and other pre-production activities. Following the first days, students started to learn the important functions of a 4k video camera and supporting equipment. 


Participants achieved success beyond the original expected learning outcomes: they produced and edited a short video covering a social topic of their choice using Adobe Premiere. This was achieved by going beyond the initial basic skills lessons of how to use the equipment and conducting interviews. We also facilitated lessons on operating a drone, collecting B-roll footage, and delved into activities focused on ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and other technical skills to create professional film content.

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GIS mapping 

Cartography and videography combined. 

The cartography students started to learn basic mapping skills, including the use of GPS devices and spatial databases. During the workshop, students learned to store detailed maps of ancestral rainforests into geographic information systems, specifically ArcGIS. This allowed the communities create a basemap to define their territories.

Participants became confident in using ArcGIS, as well as multiple other platforms (Excel, MapSource, and Global Forest Watch). This more advanced process of data collection and map creation went beyond the initial skills of GPS usage; uploading data onto a laptop; and understanding how drone footage links to a mapped location. 

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Impact in numbers

The change we want to see.


 Orang Rimba members are trained in filmmaking


Orang Rimba members are

trained in geospatial mapping


Hectares of forest within the Orang Rimba territory will be preserved through litigation

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Evidence-based storytelling 

The fight for climate justice continues.

Phase I : Skill-based 

As the GeoStory Camps include different interwoven methodologies, it is therefore initiated in different phases. The first phase is structured through a skill-based curriculum covering the basics of filmmaking and geospatial mapping. Currently this stage has been finalized in the Bukit DuaBelas rainforest, with the Orang Rimba Indigenous community. 

Litigation phase

The finished film and mapping content created by the Indigenous participants of the GeoStory Camps will be used as proof of evidence in court cases to protect Indigenous land with the help of local environmental lawyers. Following the lead of the partner Indigenous communities, we help identify the parameters and goals of the legal case to be started. We support in gathering and filling out paperwork, and ensuring all the film and mapping content is powerful and relevant.

Phase II: Evidence-based 

The second phase continues with an advanced workshop, which provides context to the previously learned film and geospatial mapping through evidence-gathering techniques and local human rights and environmental law. This phase is structured through a human rights toolkit, which links filmmaking and mapping to human rights in concrete terms. It provides participants with the key rights through which storylines can be defined to create impactful evidence-based stories that tie directly back to the Indigenous rights and claims that have been violated. 


Successful court cases that use film and mapping content created during the GeoStory Camps and after by GeoStory Camps participants will preserve around 525,000 hectares of Indigenous forest within the Orang Rimba Indigenous territory. 

Project progress 

Seedlings sprouted. 

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Phase I

Phase II



Working group

Indigenous-led multi-stakeholder working group. 

Together with our local partners (Kelompok Makekal Bersatu, Sokola Institute, and Universitas Muhammadiyah Purwokerto), we have established an Indigenous-led multi-stakeholder working group. This working group will lay the basis for the remaining phases of the project that endeavors to find the best strategy to use the skills in mapping and videography as effective and successful tools to be used in future litigation.


The working groups consist of multiple stakeholders and experts within the realm of filmmaking, geospatial mapping, environmental and criminal law and Indigenous leaders who are able to work on even footing and will assure that the introduction of film and spatial technologies unfolds in a truly participatory manner, that the content produced will successfully serve as evidence in courts against environmental destruction, and that the impact process is being continuously assessed and monitored.   


Monitoring, evaluation, and learning

We learn as we grow.

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Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning

GeoStory Camps - Orang Rimba


Local Partners

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Funding Partner

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