Fellows Network

Antoinette Royo

The Samdhana Institute, Executive Director

Bali, Indonesia

Nonette actively bridges community actors and institutions in key ecosystems, including forest, agroforest and agricultural landscapes, for the Philippines, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries. She provides facilitation, mentoring and advice in policy and practice for institutions engaged in natural resource management, land rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and negotiation in Indonesia and the Philippines. At the Samdhana Institute in Indonesia, Nonette is finding and supporting community-led actions for sustainability amid threats of landscape conversion and devastation, her deepest source of inspiration.

At her birthplace in Cagayan de Oro, Northern Mindanao, Philippines, she continues to mentor local facilitators working with the Indigenous Peoples Support Fund facility, linking them with technical partners at Xavier University Research and Social Outreach Unit. They combine teaching, research and extension in a robust inquiry into education for sustainable development, working in a ridge to reef landscape involving the last remaining forests of Mindanao. Here, watersheds feed key aquifers and rivers, flowing into Macajalar Bay, which bursts with beautiful and endemic marine life.

Her greatest challenge remains working with and/or mentoring stakeholders in keeping a balance between rights and interests of millions of poor people living within protected areas or key environmental corridors in the Philippines and Indonesia, within the context of resistant, cash strapped governments and a semi accountable private sector. This becomes doubly difficult when reliable science and good legal recourse are not readily available.

As a Fellow, the practice of personal mastery, coupled with thinking in systems and coaching, led Nonette and colleagues to establish the Indigenous Peoples Support Fund, which received the 2011 International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Award. Building upon local community initiatives, assets, and innovations in the last remaining forest corridors, she is part of a group of indigenous leaders who set up with Global Greengrants Alliance (GGF). GGF is a fund for generating sustainability of support for local natural resource stewards and indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia. The GGF Alliance, local Foundation for Philippine Environment, the TIKVA Foundation, and ICCO have aligned with Samdhana Institute for this initiative.

Updated April 2013.