Monday, 5 October 2009

Project Allocations and Projects Planning Visits

It is the moment they've all been waiting for ....... project allocation day! After 5 days in country and a head full of anticipation all their questions have been answered. Will I be on a community, environmental or adventure project? How many hours will I have to spend on a bus to get to my site? What will the next 3 months of my life involve? Or more importantly, will I be stuck with a  project manager who snores for 10 weeks? Well in good time all this will become clear as the project managers have been allocated their exciting projects, joined forces with their new PM buddies and headed out for 5 days of investigative work in the field.

On their project planning visit, volunteer managers look at the sites, meet local project partners,discuss the work ahead, get to know the head of the village, assess equipment requirements and the new camps, draw up essential casevac plans for medical emergencies, create route cards for the drive in, check out water sources and risk assess all activities that will take place on phase. Phew! Well lets have a look at the allocations

First up are the community projects. We have three projects aimed at improving the facilites in smaller and often remote communities, venturers work alongside members of the community on these projects, learn about Malay culture, try out the language, eat some great local food and nine times out of ten get beaten at football.

Alpha 1 has been allocated to Ced and Chi and they will be accompanied by medics, Emma, Julia and Nat over the three phases. They will be working in Kampung Minusoh building a kindergarten in conjunction with project partners PACOS. The Malaysian Government provides educational facilities for those over six years of age, however, before entering school, children must be able to read and write to a basic standard. In a Kampung as remote as Minusoh, a kindergarten will provide generations of children with the chance to gain the early literacy skills required to enter into school. Watching a kindergarten go up in 10 weeks is going to be pretty impressive, so watch this space!

Alpha 2 in Kampung Tampasak will be managed by Nicky and Stan. This gravity water feed project will see the village have clean running water for the community. In 2007 Raleigh built a kindergarten in this fantastic community and are really pleased to be returning for this project. Although this Kampung has a nearby river, contamination from different industries and other village's mean that Tampasak cannot use this as a pure water source. After lots of digging and carrying of pipes this Raleigh group will create a dam, fit resevoir tanks and run pipes down to the village so the taps can be officially turned on!

Alpha 7 is based in Kampung Nibang and will be run by Ruthie and Zara. This is a gravity water feed system but Alpha 7 also intend to start reconstruction work on the local community hall which has fallen into disrepair. This houses the community's satellite phone - the village's only means of communication in this incredibly remote Kampung. The hall is now unsafe for use and needs to be repaired to keep the phone system in good order.

Next up are the environmental projects. As if they don't sound busy enough with managing Alpha 7, Ruthie and Zara will also be working for their first phase in Kampung Bawang Jamal as Alpha 8. This exciting pilot project aims to use land obtained through donation for reforestation. The beginnings of this project will see Raleigh groups build an accommodation camp for volunteers and establish a nursery to supply indigenous trees for the future of this project.

Alpha 3 is in Imbak Canyon. Bruno and the medical crew, Nat, Julia and Lakshmi, will all spend 8 hours in buses and Landrovers to reach this conservation area widely known as one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Home to elephants, orangutangs and hundreds of rare bird species, it is a huge privilege to work in this area. Raleigh have been working in Imbak since 2004 and have assisted with the construction of an infrastructure that gives rangers the ability to live and work there. This expeditions group will be working on the foundations of a bridge providing safe access across the river.

Alpha 4's work at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre at Sepilok is another new and very exciting project already gaining international recognition and a visit from Tony Blair. The plight of the Bornean Sun Bear stems from the loss of its habitat due to deforestation, driving the bears into plantations where they are at risk from human contact. The adult bears are often killed and the cubs taken as pets, following which they spend the majority of their adult lives in small cages.This project intends to rehabilitate and where possible release bears back into the wild. The opening of the centre to the public will raise awareness of the plight of the bear whilst also ensuring the centre is self sufficient and secure the future of the project. Craig, Jessie and Nicky will all get to live in the camp built by the last Raleigh expedition and work on the boardwalks and fencing for the bear enclosure. More information can be found at the BSBCC link at the side of this blog.

For the adventure phase there are two trekking groups. Alpha 5 is run by Andy and Craig, rotated in with medics Emma, Julia and Lakshmi. Alpha 6's project managers will be Leon and medic Vicky, joined by Ruthie and Nat in the later phases. Trekking for 12 days in beautiful Long Pasia, groups will be carrying all their kit and setting up camp every night. Part of the phase will be spent on idyllic Mamutik Island, camping on the beach and gaining a PADI after five days of dive training. They will then use their new qualification to help the environment by replanting coral or cleaning up underwater litter. 

There's the projects, we'll find out how they're project planning visits went upon their return in a few days.........


Isobel said...

Hello Intrepid Jessie.Trying Blog comment again.Thought I'd cracked it but then saw my messages did not hit the mark. I would write as you suggested from your tropical time warp. But in reality chances are slim! You did well. At least you don't have to build your own shelter and you might get to cuddle the baby bears. Wish I were there. Thinking of you Is x

Colin S said...

Hi Richard
Good to see you alive and well, did you get news about Rovers won 3-2. Enjoy your time with the bears, letter in post (2 actually, forgot to put your name on first one!)
Love Jane x