Info-Activist: Taibah Istiqamah


Taibah was already a dedicated environmental activist when she came to Tactical Tech's Info-Activism Camp in India (2009) from her hometown of Borneo, Indonesia. She was general secretary of the environmental student group at Lambung Mangkurat University, and former facilitator of the Green Student Movement in Walhi Kalsel (Friends of the Earth Indonesia). She had already been exploring the use of mobile phones for mobilising students to engage in clean-up campaigns and at the camp she became more interested in campaign strategy, maps and developing skills to run a small NGO.


Directly after the camp, Taibah resigned from her former organisation to become a freelancer and entrepreneur.  Although Taibah was already part of a wide network of organisations, she found a new community of activists among the Asian participants in the camp and could always find, “simple encouraging words of wisdom, helpful hands of techies, all in [my] inbox. It’s awesome!”.

She has mostly been in touch with Mei Orias, from Amnesty International Philippines. She has also explored ideas about Islam and ecology with another camper, Ali and received invitations to various events in Indonesia from Andrew Lowenthal from Engagemedia.


Since the camp, Taibah has participated in the British Council initiative “Indonesia's Climate Champion” at a teachers’ training for environmental education in West Sumatra. She also participated in the supervisory team for the 'Climate4Classrooms' piloting project in the area. She says that many of the skills she gained at the camp helped her with the organisation of these climate training activities. Now Taibah is working with a local NGO, Save Our Borneo, as part of the research team for a project called Promoting Corruption Eradiction to Reduce Illegal Palm Oil Expansion. She tells us she has also married a “mapping person” and is soon to be a parent.


Taibah believes that info-activism has a significant role to play in her field of work:

“It is very important to promote info-activism in my country, and in my context – especially environmental info-activism. Most environmental NGOs in my region lack techie people who do online activism. Info-activism offers us a way to to be able to reach our audiences.”


Accordingly, Taibah has been an energetic promoter of info-activism toolkits and manuals. She was one of the first to offer to translate 10 Tactics into Bahasa Indonesia and also organised a couple of screenings of the film in Borneo. She is also planning to translate Tactical Tech's guide to geographical mapping techniques, “Maps for Advocacy”, and distribute it to interested parties, particularly those who are already developing environmental maps. So far local activists have responded well to these resources, says Taibah, since for most of them: “Info-Activism is a very new thing”.


Image: Taibah at the info-activism camp. Picture by Genner Llanes-Ortiz.