Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bursting At The Seams- Project Managers Arrive At Field Base


Field Base is now fit to burst as another 14 volunteer managers arrived this morning, all smiley faced (if not a little blurry eyed from the long journey) and eager to get stuck in to Raleigh life! 

After bagging a bunk bed, everyone enjoyed a tasty lunch prepared by our beloved cook 'Lolly'... 



The afternoon was spent trying to learn the names of everyone who will make up the Raleigh 10D Expedition staff team.  And of course there was some paperwork to do...



The next two weeks will be packed with name games, radio training, planning visits to the project sites, jungle survival training and even river crossing lessons.  But it's not all hard work, we also have the Raleigh staff olympics to look forward to, as well as a cultural evening, a fancy dress night and a spot of kareoke!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Check Out The Exciting Projects That 10D Venturers Will Be Working On...

Community Development

Alpha 1: Kindergarten – Kampung Maliau Layung, Pitas District


Education is a basic need which most western societies take for granted. It is well documented that individuals who fail or drop out of education at any stage are seriously disadvantaged in future life. Getting individuals into education as early as possible is a necessary requirement to ensure they maximize their opportunities for success. In Malaysia the Government provides educational facilities for children aged 6 and above with primary and secondary schools. Often young children have to travel for several hours to reach their nearest primary school.

The main difficulty however is that before a child can be entered into school they must have a minimal standard of reading and writing. In the remote Kampungs where many of the elder generations did not attend school this is often not possible. Raleigh has worked for a number of years with a local NGO called PACOS. The PACOS Trust is a small grass roots charity who aims to assist communities with basic infrastructure, capacity building and land rights issues, they have been working in the region for several years. With Raleigh’s support they hope to provide the basic level of education needed so that when a child reaches 6 years old they are able to start school, and not find themselves years behind their peers.
Kg Maliau Layung is located in the Pitas district, widely excepted as the poorest region of Sabah, if not Malaysia.

The people in this village are Dusun Sonsogon ethnic background. Most of them are of Christian faith while a few are still pagan. In this village, there are approximately 500 people, consisting of 115 families in 46 houses. They survive on shifting agriculture, cash crops or working in the town. Their livelihoods have been drastically compromised due to land grabbing, logging and the boom of oil palm plantations that has resulted in the loss of their traditional hunting and farming lands.
Additionally, there are two other communities nearby who would send their children to the kindergarten.

The communities are very isolated and reached via a poorly maintained dirt road that winds from the Pitas coastal road, over the first mountain ridge and crossing the Bengkoka River before reaching the community. It is about 70km from Kota Marudu.
Are project partner is Asian Forestry, who has recently been given the land rights for a large area in the Pitas District for the next 100 years. Although they are a commercial organisation the company has been established with Corporate Social Responsibility principles as paramount. Kampung Maliau Layung has been ear marked as one of the first kampungs which Asian Forestry wishes to demonstrate its programme from. Following workshops with the community the population identified that their main concern was their water supply and the need for a Kindergarten.


Alpha 2: Community workshop – Pulau Maliangin Besar, Kudat District


Pulau Maliangan Besar is a beautiful tiny island situated of the “Tip of Borneo” near the town of Kudat. Maliangin Besar used to be a relatively prosperous village of over 80 households. The 147-hectare island is at present home to just 15 households as most of the villagers have moved to the larger island of Banggi in search of better education and economic opportunities for their children and themselves. The remaining people now live in poor conditions. They do not have proper toilets or piped water supply.
In 2003 the Sabah State Government announced its intention to gazette a marine protected area (MPA) named Tun Mustapha Park in the Kudat-Banggi area of northern Sabah. The proposed park area is blessed with many coral reef areas, endangered species and a once-rich fishing ground. WWF-Malaysia is now working closely with Sabah Parks and various stakeholders to build community support for the Park, with the main issue being over fishing.

Toward this end, the Maliangin Sanctuary is a model site for demonstrating benefits of collaboratively managed MPAs. This site will be used to show fishers that protecting and managing their resources will increase the number of fish, prawn, crabs, abalone, giant clams and sea urchins that they depend on for food and trade.

Through a series of workshops and community meetings the population of Maliangin Besar has agreed to implement a no take zone in sections of their coastline. WWF will work with the community to help them to capacity build and ultimately become less dependent on unsustainable fishing methods.
Therefore Raleigh has agreed to work on various projects to help the community in this transition. The first project of which is to build a traditional building that will act as a workshop that the community can use to make local handcrafts and act as a visitors centre in the future. Further projects will include work on the community hall, plus sanitation and water systems.


Environment Projects

Alpha 3: Imbak Canyon – Trail & Infrastructure Development


Imbak Canyon is the last remaining untouched and relatively unexplored area of Sabah. Less than 200 people have ever entered this virgin primary jungle area where the last research team discovered a new tree species. The region is home to wildlife including elephants, orang-utans and 100’s of rare bird species. Yayasan Sabah (the concessionary) now wants to reserve this area as a natural gene bank to help protect future biodiversity of the whole region and has asked Raleigh to play a major role in the development of this area.

In early 2004, a Raleigh project team worked closely with the staff of Yayasan Sabah to plan the location and type of necessary infrastructure needed to protect and allow access to the pristine protected area of Imbak Canyon. The first stage included mapping the area to determine points of interest, possible trail networks, sources of water and best locations for a field centre. The second expedition to Imbak in late 2004 started putting in place basic infrastructure including a Ranger’s camp, visitors’ accommodation and basic trails. This was the first permanent structure built as part of the master development plan for this conservation area.

Between 2005 and 2008 the infrastructure has been gradually expanded by a number of Raleigh teams. In addition new trails have been recce’d along the ridges and into the centre of the canyon by groups during expedition 05G in late 2005. In the last year Raleigh groups have completed a 200ft span bridge crossing a tributary of the Imbak Canyon close to the main camp used by visitors, BBC Camp. In the dry season this river can easily be crossed by foot. However, during the rainy season the river often becomes swollen cutting off access to the conservation area.
There are still many years of work needed at this project location; this expedition is going to be mainly based around infrastructure development both at Rangers and BBC camp. Currently Raleigh groups have been working on the preparation for a second suspension bridge across the larger Imbak River.


Alpha 4: Sepilok – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


Probably the most exciting new conservation initiative in Borneo, this is a truly unique project. The Sun Bear is the smallest of the nine bear species in the world. With little known about the animal and its numbers decreasing, something needs to be done to secure its future. The new Conservation Centre was conceived by leading researcher Wong Siew Ti. The idea is a very similar model to that of the neighbouring Orang-utan Sanctuary.
The centre will aim to raise awareness of the plight of the Sun Bear. It will allow for the rehabilitation of Sun bears that have been kept in captivity or orphaned. Those that can’t be released back into the wild will have the best life possible. Through a visitor programme the centre will become self funding with any profits used for further research of the species.
The BSBCC is completely unique as it is a collaboration of so many different bodies working for a common goal.

Raleigh groups will be supporting the project by helping with the construction of parts of the conservation centre, mainly fencing, enclosures and boardwalks. The project is being overseen by LEAP whom is working very closely with two government bodies, The Department of Forestry and The Department of Wildlife.
Raleigh groups have been involved in a variety of work to help the bears to be released into their new homes at the start of 2010. Now Raleigh will continue to work on infrastructural work, most likely to include fence and boardwalk construction to enable the centre to be open to the public. Sepilok is on the eastern side of Sabah, a 7 hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, on good roads.


Adventure Projects

Alphas 5 & 6: Trekking and Diving

 

The trekking element of this project will see two teams trekking in the south western corner of Sabah on the Kalimantan and Sarawak border starting from the small village of Long Pasia. The trek will be 10 – 11 days in duration and will involve teams carrying all their own supplies and equipment for the duration. Long Pasia is a very remote area and is steeped in tradition and folk lore. The surrounding jungle has been under threat for many years from logging and the community has suffered from a gradual decline in numbers as young people move away from the area. In order to halt this decline and re-establish the community as well as help protect the surrounding environment WWF worked closely with the community to develop an eco tourism plan. The plan has been running for several years but is starting to decline as new areas are opened up in Sabah. The area is one of the richest plant diversity sites in Borneo in particular for orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants. In addition the people of the area have an interesting history as fierce head hunters. There are many ancient legends passed down through the generations which make this a fascinating place to spend some time as well as being thick and untouched jungle.

The trekking will be across arduous and physically challenging terrain, which will often mean that the team are extremely remote and will need them to be fully self sufficient. Teams will camp wild near the trail ensuring they have a minimal impact on the local surroundings and will leave nothing behind. Where necessary teams will assist local guides to upgrade the trail through the dense vegetation since the jungle very quickly grows back. Teams will obviously have the opportunity to learn about the pristine rainforest environment as they progress.


All adventure groups will also be involved in a SCUBA diving conservation program in Tungku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in partnership with Borneo Divers and Sabah Parks. The team will spend 3 to 4 days doing their PADI Open Water diving qualification followed by 1 to 2 days of an underwater clean up, where they will collect litter and other waste from selected areas of the marine park. During this time they will live on their very own paradise island from where the diving is carried out.