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A legacy of research and shared understanding

“If you stare long enough into the sunset off the coast of Broome,” says IWC student and AYAD volunteer Penny Godwin, “you could probably just about make out the coast of Sumba.”

Penny Godwin 3This remote location in Indonesia is where Penny is conducting her final semester Masters research project, working as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) volunteer on the island.

"I jumped at the opportunity of volunteering in Sumba to use my training from the Masters coursework, undergraduate Indonesian major, and to gain experience in catchment management with indigenous communities," Penny said.

She is conducting her research while working with KOPPESDA, an NGO which coordinates natural resource management research and has the dual aims of benefiting local village economies into the future, and restoring and maintaining catchment ecosystem health.

Penny’s research involves participatory mapping of water resources and developing participatory management strategies with village communities.

“Working with Sumbanese communities is both a very rewarding and a challenging experience,” she says.

“I feel very fortunate to have learnt about this wild and mysterious place. I hope I’ve left behind a legacy of some useful research outcomes that will help villages to plan and manage their water resources sustainably into the future, as well as a new shared understanding between this one Australian and the many, many beautiful Sumbanese people I met along the way.”


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