Environmental Bamboo Foundation signs MOU with SEAD Plant in Malaysia

Environmental Bamboo Foundation signs MOU with SEAD Plant in Malaysia

The Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) has joined forces with SEAD Plant, signing an MOU in June 2022 to facilitate transfer of knowledge between the two organizations with the aim of growing the Bamboo Village Initiative in South East Asia. This is the first time EBF has ventured outside of Indonesia to forge formal ties with an organization with similar aims and vision.

The cooperation between SEAD and EBF will help to share key lessons learned between communities in both countries in the hope of developing a village-based bamboo industry. The similar climates and agricultural traditions of the two countries make this a very natural partnership.

EBF aims to create more partnerships with the ASEAN region as each have longstanding relationships with bamboo and bamboo-based village industries.

SEAD and Environmental Bamboo Foundation share the same lifelong mission to restore heavily degraded lands with bamboo; one bamboo forest at a time. The path we both walk down may not always be a straight one, with ongoing challenges and human skepticism but the goal to empower the rural ‘rakyat’, one ‘kampung’ at a time ignites our passion to serve the communities.

SEAD stands for Stewards of Environmentally-Aware Development and is an environmentally-focused company specializing in the utilization of bamboo as a sustainable solution for the built environment, land restoration and community empowerment. SEAD is based in Perak, Malaysia.

EBF is a non-profit organization that since 1993 has studied and showcased bamboo as a social, ecological and economic solution for indigenous and local communities. Together with the local government and rural communities, EBF is currently intensively developing village-based bamboo industry and bamboo agroforestry villages in NTT. EBF has also started initiating the program in the provinces of Bali, East Java, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan. In 2021, EBF assisted 388 ‘Bamboo Mamas’ in 21 villages in 7 districts in Flores and succeeded in creating and caring for 2.5 million bamboo seedlings.


Bamboo can address climate and social issues, The Star, July 2022

“Land degradation has caused Indonesia to become the fifth largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world,” said Rabik, one of the speakers at the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival’s (KLAF) Datum: KL conference held earlier this month.

“And the people who suffer the most are the rural communities, smallholder farmers and the very poor,” added Rabik, who also sits on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.

Bamboo bike diplomacy between Indonesia and Australia

Bamboo bike diplomacy between Indonesia and Australia

EBF Appreciates Jokowi’s Gift of a Spedagi Bamboo Bike to Australian PM

The Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) appreciates President Jokowi’s gesture to invite Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to ride a bicycle and gift him a Spedagi bamboo bicycle during the meeting of the two leaders of the countries Monday (6/1) at the State Palace, Bogor.

“Mr. President has started diplomacy on bamboo bicycles. The gift of bamboo bicycles shows that the President is supportive of the community-based bamboo industry and products made in Indonesia by using them as a tool of diplomacy,” said EBF Executive Director, Monica Tanuhandaru.

EBF is a non-profit organization that since 1993 has studied and showcased bamboo as a social, ecological and economic solution for indigenous and local communities. Together with the local government and rural communities, EBF is currently intensively developing village-based bamboo industry and bamboo agroforestry villages in NTT. EBF has also started initiating the program in the provinces of Bali, East Java, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan.


Currently, EBF is collaborating with Spedagi, the name of the bamboo bicycle designed, produced and developed by Singgih Kartono, a product designer who has won several international awards. Later, the result of this collaboration will produce a bamboo bicycle made of bamboo planted by the community in Flores, NTT.

In 2021, EBF assisted 388 ‘Bamboo Mamas’ Bambu in 21 villages in 7 districts in Flores and succeeded in creating and caring for 2.5 million bamboo seedlings. “This gift giving bike is the second good news for us this month. The first good news was the President’s visit to the Turetogo Bamboo Campus, which is the center of education, research and innovation for EBF, and on that occasion the President bought a Spedagi bicycle that was on display,” added Monica.

During a visit to the Turetogo Bamboo Campus in Ngada, NTT, President Jokowi had the opportunity to chat with the Bamboo Mamas and Singgih Kartono. On that occasion, Singgih showed the work of the Dalanrata series of bamboo bicycles (road bikes) designed for use on the highway. President Jokowi then bought a a Dalanrata bicycle, and a few days later ordered an additional unit to be gifted to the Australian PM.

Tough and Environmentally Friendly

Spedagi is a bicycle with a frame made of bamboo, while the other elements are quality components obtained on the open market. Although made of bamboo, the power of the Spedagi bicycle cannot be underestimated. The Dalanrata series has been used by Indonesian cyclists to complete the most prestigious long-distance cycling event in the world, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur in 2019. Two
Indonesian cyclists (Salman Faridi and Vidi Widyastono) using Dalanrata successfully completed the 1,200 km route. Dalanrata has also successfully completed the Java Landscape bicycle tour from Anyer to Banyuwangi (1,400 km) in 2022.

“Bamboo bicycles are strong, visually more beautiful than other materials, and also more comfortable because bamboo has the ability to absorb vibrations, the bamboo cells are like micro-suspension,” said Singgih Kartono.

Singgih started designing bamboo bicycles in 2013 after he felt “slapped” by seeing the existence of bamboo bicycles in a number of countries that do not have bamboo though Indonesia, which is rich in bamboo resources. Using the potential of bamboo growing in his village in Temanggung, Central Java, Singgih then began designing and producing bamboo bicycles under the Spedagi banner. His company trains and educates village youth to make bamboo bicycles.
In the international design arena, the Spedagi bamboo bike has made a name for itself. In 2018, the Spedagi bamboo bike won the Gold Prize at the prestigious Good Design Award event in Tokyo. The Spedagi bamboo bicycle has also become an elective subject at the Tokyo Zokei University design education institute.

“In the context of the bamboo program in Indonesia, we need symbols and icons to spark people’s love for bamboo. Good and cool products, both functionally and aesthetically, such as bamboo bicycles, will have an important role in revitalizing the bamboo industry at a village level,” he explained.

Bamboo Bike Goes Global

YBL’s Senior Advisor, Noer Fauzi Rachman, pointed out that the President’s move, by giving the spedagi as a souvenir, signifies the contribution of nature and the Indonesian people in the international diplomacy arena.

“Remembering World Environment Day, June 5, 2022, this gift is important to mark the ability of Indonesian citizens to innovate new technology by using environmentally friendly materials, producing modern goods based on community-based industries,” he said. This kind of diplomacy, according to him, will be very important and interesting for Indonesia to show in the context of the upcoming G20 meeting.

“There is a continuation of this bamboo bicycle diplomacy which is also important. Namely, creating new ways of viewing and appreciating bamboo, and developing strategies to revitalize existing agroforestry into sustainable bamboo forests, which are able to supply the need for continuous use of bamboo. Bamboo can be a modality in various cultural promotions, including in the context of overcoming poverty by eliminating structural and cultural barriers that hinder the growth and development of rural communities, including women, children and youth. Bamboo really has the potential to be a solution. We are looking forward to what will happen with this momentum,” he said.

President’s Working Visit in NTT: Jokowi greets Bamboo Mamas in Ngada

President’s Working Visit in NTT: Jokowi greets Bamboo Mamas in Ngada

In the midst of heavy rains that hit Ngada, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo took the time to visit the Turetogo Bamboo Campus on Wednesday afternoon (1/6) and greet the Mama Bambu, women pioneers who have spearheaded the bamboo nursery and reforestation program in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

The nursery and reforestation program using bamboo is a collaboration between the NTT Provincial Government and the Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF). The program involved 388 Bamboo Mamas in 21 villages in 7 districts in Flores. In 2021, the Bamboo Mamas succeeded in propagating and caring for more than 2.5 million seedlings. The number of seedlings is sufficient to rehabilitate 72,000 hectares of critical land.

This program is part of a long-term effort to develop bamboo agroforestry villages in NTT. The Bamboo Agroforestry Village program uses bamboo as a conservation plant (restoring critical land, protecting water sources, preventing landslides, absorbing carbon) as well as a plant to improve the welfare of rural communities through the smallholder bamboo industry.

The presidential entourage arrived at the Turetogo Bamboo Campus in Ratogesa Village, Golewa District, at 15.20 WITA and was immediately greeted by EBF leaders, including EBF Chair, Arief Rabik, Executive Director Monica Tanuhandaru, Senior Adviser Noer Fauzi Rachman, Senior Adviser Sarah Lery Mboeik, and bamboo taxonomy expert Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Widjaja. Also present were Singgih Kartono, the creator of the Spedagi bamboo bicycle, the Regent of Ngada, Andreas Paru, the Governor of NTT, Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat (VBL), and the Chair of the NTT PKK Mobilizing Team, Bunda Julie S Laiskodat. VBL and Bunda Julie are the main supporters of this bamboo nursery and reforestation program.

President Jokowi then listened to Arief Rabik’s explanation about laminated bamboo, a processed bamboo product that has a shape and strength similar to wood. With the potential of bamboo that NTT has, this province has the opportunity to become a center for producing laminated bamboo. The global market demand for laminated bamboo will continue to increase because laminated bamboo is a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and lower carbon alternative than wood.

President Jokowi then spent a long time talking with the nine Bamboo Mamas who were the representatives of Bamboo Mamas throughout Flores. Of these nine women, five are from Ngada and four are from Nagekeo.

“Mr. President asked about the number of seedlings we produce, the price of seedlings, how to propagate the seedlings, and how long it takes to maintain the seedlings until the each plant has 25 leaves,” said Wilhelmina Bhoki (51), a Bamboo Mama from Genamere Village, Bajawa.

Wilhemina Bhoki couldn’t hide her joy at meeting and conversing with Jokowi.

“I’m very happy, since I was born, this is the first time I’ve been able to meet Mr. President,” she said.

So happy, Wilhelmina and the other Bamboo Mama asked for an opportunity to take a photo with President Jokowi and the First Lady.

“We asked for a group photo, and I was next to the President, very proud,” she said with a smile.

In his conversation with EBF Senior Adviser Noer Fauzi Rachman, President Jokowi asked what support he could provide to encourage the creation of NTT as a center for community based bamboo industry. Noer Fauzi Rachman describes the need to have a National Bamboo Development Strategy to accelerate the creation of a people-based bamboo industry throughout Indonesia.

“Mr. President stated that he is ready to help and support these efforts,” said Noer Fauzi Rachman.

President Jokowi and his entourage left the Turetogo Bamboo Campus at 16.00 WITA.

The Turetogo Bamboo Campus was inaugurated in May 2021 and aspires to be a center for education, research, innovation, and cultural exchange about bamboo. So far, the Turetogo Bamboo Campus has carried out a number of educational activities and workshops on the nursery, planting and sustainable management of bamboo forests. The campus is equipped with a number of facilities, including a study building, lodging, bamboo preservation installations, bamboo gardens with local plants, as well as an example of the Sustainable Bamboo House building–a residence made of laminated bamboo with a knock-down system. Rumah Bambu Lestari can be an alternative for social housing, post-disaster temporary housing, public facility buildings, and tourist resorts.

EBF was founded in 1993 and has consistently campaigned for bamboo as an ecological solution and an economic solution in village development. Currently EBF is working with villagers in NTT, Bali, East Java, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan in developing bamboo agroforestry villages.

Starting out right: Replacing plastic seed bags with a green alternative

Starting out right: Replacing plastic seed bags with a green alternative

If planted with care, a bamboo seedling has the potential to restore degraded land, mitigate climate change, and generate income for rural communities. Unfortunately, however, like most other young plants, they are usually wrapped in a material that is causing a global pollution crisis: plastic.

Practical, strong and inexpensive, the small black plastic bags known as polybags are used to protect and transport delicate young seedlings. They are a common sight on any landscaping or restoration project — including those supported by the Environmental Bamboo Foundation.

Recognizing that it was time to make a change and reduce consumption of plastic polybags, in 2021 EBF began collaborating with women’s empowerment organizations in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), to produce an environmentally-friendly alternative made of natural fibers. 20 villages in seven districts in Flores are part of EBF’s Bamboo Village program, and last year their goal was to produce 2.8 million bamboo seedlings — a green alternative to the plastic polybags was urgently needed.

NTT has long been home to a rich weaving tradition, and woven textiles play a vital role in cultural life. This meant ripe ground for the production of a viable, biodegradable woven seedling bag made from natural fibers commonly found in Flores.

In Nginamanu Village in Ngada Regency, EBF collaborated with Du Anyam — a social enterprise empowering and improving the health of women in rural areas through the production of beautiful woven products — to guide bamboo farmers in the weaving of polybags made from bamboo fiber.

In Du Village in Sikka Regency, bamboo farmers now weave polybags from the fibers of banana trunks and coconuts, as well as from coconut palm leaves. As part of its push towards biodegradable polybags, EBF is also mapping areas with plentiful natural fiber resources across NTT.

Arief Rabik, President Director of EBF, has emphasized that the environmentally-friendly polybag innovation will eventually be implemented in the 20 villages participating in EBF’s bamboo plantation and reforestation programs across Flores.

“Gradually, we will replace plastic polybags with natural fiber polybags. This year we are aiming for 10 percent of all polybags used to be made from natural fibers,” he said. “The use of natural fibers will also have a positive impact by strengthening the handicraft industry in villages and providing additional economic opportunities for natural fiber weavers.”

About Du Anyam: 

Working closely with the talented women artisans of Indonesia, Du Anyam creates wicker products through the most authentic craftsmanship. With the goal of economically empowering and improving the health of these women in rural areas around Indonesia, Du Anyam is a brand built upon the values of its founders.

The three pillars of Du Anyam are: Empower Women, Promote Culture, and Improve Livelihood.

Mama Bambu Nurture Love for Bamboo while Preserving Heritage

Mama Bambu Nurture Love for Bamboo while Preserving Heritage

At the end of 2020 the Environmental Bamboo Foundation implemented a bamboo nursery program that places women at the center. We started with something very simple: we wanted to share our experiences about how to grow bamboo. At that time, women who wanted to learn about bamboo or grow bamboo seedlings became our first partners. What started as simple turned out to be a leap of thought and hope among the women, later known as Mama Bambu (Bamboo Mamas).

The Meaning of Land and Bamboo for Ngada Women (an introduction)

Ngada culture adheres to a matrilineal system. In a matrilineal society, the successors of the mother’s line are seen as very important. As a result, family relationships are much closer and more pervasive among residents who are descended from the maternal line.

Traditionally, Ngada women are entrusted with the right to control Ngia Ngora (customary land) and Napu Bheto (bamboo forest). So caring for the bamboo clumps also means caring for ancestral heritage, preserving customs, and conserving ecology for all generations.

When the Ngada woman defends her bamboo forest, she is not only doing it for herself. For Ngada women, taking care of bamboo means protecting her community and future generations from destruction.

The Mama Bambu program not only provides space for women to be physically present in every decision-making regarding bamboo conservation and utilization in Ngada, but more than that Mama Bambu presents the views and values ​​of sustainable use of bamboo.

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Bangka Wela

With slightly trembling hands, Maria Danus held a piece of paper containing a welcoming speech that she had prepared together with some of the caretakers of a bamboo farmer group for the commemoration of international women’s day. Being the chairman of the committee was Maria Danus’ first experience and delivering a speech in front of village guests was something that had never crossed her mind. “I was very nervous when I read the speech. But I am proud to be able to carry out my duties for International Women’s Day with the other women,” said Maria Danus.

The first International Women’s Day commemoration was held in Bangka Wela Village following the success of the Balang Leca Bamboo Farmer Group in producing 8,000 bamboo seedlings in no more than 3 months. In this activity, the Belang Leca bamboo farmer group invited the village community, representatives of BKSDH (Forest Resource Conservation Center) and FMU (Forest Management Unit), as well as farmer groups from neighboring villages to plant bamboo seeds around a spring in Bangka Wela village.

“We are very happy to commemorate Women’s Day and proud of ourselves for doing many things and getting a lot of knowledge,” said Liana Wati Hayati, secretary of the Balang Leca Bamboo Farmer Group. The whole series of events to commemorate international women’s day was organized by the Belang Leca Group. “We divide the tasks, there are those who take care of food, cleanliness, lead the prayers, sing the PKK (women’s organization) song, and prepare bamboo seeds to be planted,” added Liana.

The Belang Leca Bamboo Farmer Group is a partner of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation in a family-based bamboo nursery program in Bangka Wela Village, Ngada Regency, East Nusa Tenggara. Because the nursery activities are family-based, in carrying out various activities, family members work together and share roles.

“Finding bamboo seeds is difficult and takes a long time. That’s why we share roles. The fathers went to the bamboo forest to collect bamboo branches, the children filled the soil into polybags, and the women chose seedlings, planted them in polybags, and kept them in the nursery,” explained Antonia Mbue, head of the Balang Leca group.

By sharing roles, nursery work becomes lighter and faster to complete. “At first, we thought we could only produce 2,000 bamboo seedlings because the time was short,” said Antonia. “However, after successfully producing 2,000 seedlings within a month, we became more confident and then committed to producing 6,000 seedlings in the following month,” continued Antonia.

In less than three months, the Belang Leca bamboo farmer group succeeded in producing 8,000 seedlings. These seeds will later be planted on critical lands in Ngada Regency, East Nusa Tenggara once they are strong enough.

Knowledge Sharing Among Mama Bambu

Every month the Bamboo Mamas who are members of the Belang Leca bamboo farmer group hold an arisan (community savings gathering). The purpose of the arisan is to save and share the good practices of each group member.

The arisan event is held in turns, from one Bamboo Mama’s house to another. Every Mama will share good practices on how to care for and produce good seeds. Each group member may ask questions and share experiences. For example, the soil in polybags should not be too dense or the seedlings should not be planted too deep.

The Mama Bambu program not only focuses on economics and conservation but also builds the confidence of its members. “The Mama Bambu Arisan is an initiative of the Balang Leca Bamboo Farmer Group which indirectly trains their ability to speak in public, think critically and express opinions in group discussions”, explained Septiani Maro, Coordinator of Manggarai Regency.

Bamboo Money Strengthening the Role of Bangka Wela Women

This family-based nursery program in Bangka Wela also applies an ecological fiscal transfer in which each member of a bamboo farmer group receives an aid of 2,500 rupiah for each successful seedling. Within three months of implementing the family-based nursery program, the Balang Leca bamboo farmer group received a total of 15 million rupiah. The money received is used for various needs of Mama Bambu families, most of which is for the education of their children.

Antonia Mbue admitted that the money she received was used to finance her child who is studying Pharmacy in Malang, East Java. “I am very proud of the results of our hard work in this program because our economic condition is now better. We can send our children to school with bamboo money. If we didn’t have this activity, we might have become workers in Kalimantan,” said Antonia.

When women become the center, and are not only seen as beneficiaries of a program such as this family-based nursery, a Mama Bambu can play a role in deciding the use of money for family members. Moreover, in the community, the success of a family-based bamboo nursery has made Bangka Wela village proud and has ensured the Bamboo Mamas’ roles will be taken into account during decision-making in the village.

Introduction text by Yuvensius Stephen Nonga