Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The projects are planned and we're ready to go!

Having proved that we have proved that we could survive in the jungle, it was time for the project managers to be let loose and head out to the various project sites. During the project planning visit, we would meet with project partners to get a better understanding of the work to be done, as well as compile risk assessments, equipment lists and a detailed specification for each project. The expedition is divided into three phases, giving venturers the chance to participate in a community, environmental and adventure phase. 
Drum roll please, as we find out who has been assigned to which project, and what we'll all be doing.

First, the community projects. These projects will all involve the construction of important amenities in some remote parts of Sabah. Each will mean some tough physical work for the teams, but the benefits that the results will bring to the local communities will make their efforts worthwhile.

Alpha 1 – Kindergarten in Kampung Rumantai, Ranau District
To complete this project, Raleigh will be working with the Partnership of Community Organisation of Sabah (PACOS). The PACOS Trust is a charity which aims to assist communities with basic infrastructure, building and land rights issues, and education is the primary focus of this particular project.  Access to a kindergarten is an essential requirement if children below the age of six are to reach the required minimum standard of education to enter primary school. At Kg. Ramuntai in Sabah’s Ranau district, we will be building a kindergarten, which will be staffed by local women empowered by PACOS to train as teachers, ensuring that the project is sustainable and of benefit to the community for generations to come.

Eager to get stuck into this project are the following project managers:
Phases 1 & 2:  Pete, James and Andrea
Phase 3: Pete, James and Garry

Alpha 2 - Gravity water feed systems in Pitas region
For this project, Raleigh is looking forward to working with Asian Forestry Company (AFC) again. A sustainable forestry company, AFC is a commercial organisation which places Corporate Social Responsibility among its key aims and looks to support local communities by helping them with social infrastructure development. Kg. Maliau Pusat and Kg. Bambangan Ulu are communities in the Pitas region, which live off subsistence farming. They have identified water supply as their main concern, and Raleigh will be extending a gravity water feed system installed for half of the community of Kg Maliau Pusat, as well as installing a new gravity water feed system further up river for the Pakagaya area of the Bambangan Ulu community.

The venturers working in Alpha 2 will have the pleasure of working with:

Phase 1:  David, Phili and Simon
Phase 2:  David, Phili and Jo
Phase 3:  David, Phili and Emma A.

Alpha 3 - Community Hall in Kampung Vunui Lokos, Pitas District
Working again with Asian Forestry Company, the Alpha 3 team will be focusing their efforts on the construction of a community hall. Cross-community consultation led the people of Kg. Vunui Lokos to identify their main concerns as their water supply and the lack of a central place to meet as a community. Their primary goal of access to clean water having been achieved by a previous Raleigh expedition, we are now looking forward to starting work on a community hall, which will become a vital centrepoint for the village.

This is a two-phase project, which will be manned by the following PMs
Phase 2:  Chris, Kate and Marie
Phase 3:  Kate, Helen, Becky

Now onto the environmental projects.  Raleigh prides itself on its contribution to environmental protection, and all projects are carried out with the minimum negative impact on the environment. For the environmental projects, however, the environment is our main focus, and venturers heading to Borneo can look forward to some exciting and unique worksites.
Alpha 4 – Infrastructure for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre at Sepilok
Borneo is home to the world’s smallest species of bear, the little-known Malayan Sun Bear. Originally known throughout Southeast Asia, Borneo is now one of this jungle-dependent mammal’s few remaining strongholds and it is now facing extinction. The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok is a relatively new environmental initiative in Sabah which started in 2008. Its aim is to house captive and orphaned bears as well as to provide an environment for the rehabilitation of suitable bears for release back into the wild. Raleigh volunteers will be assisting with building work on the site, in particular the construction of a perimeter boardwalk around the release enclosures.

Looking forward to coming face to face with this furry fellow are the following animal-loving PMs:
Phase 1:  Caroline and Kate
Phase 2:  Caroline, Leigh and Emma P
Phase 3:  Caroline, Nicky and CK.

Alpha 5 - Infrastructure Development at Imbak Canyon
Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) is one of the few remaining areas of untouched and unexplored rainforest and located in the “Heart of Sabah”.  The area covers a total of 30,000 hectares of primary jungle reserves with sandstone ridges reaching 1,120m and a 25km-long canyon. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. Our team will be working with the Yayasan Sabah Group and ICCA rangers to continue the construction of a suspension bridge spanning the Imbak river, to provide access for important scientific research in this unique area.

Looking forward to heading off to this project are:

Phase 1:  Stacey, Abby and Becky
Phase 2:  Stacey, Abby and Emma A
Phase 3 :  Stacey, Abby and Paz.

Alpha 6 – Gravity water feed repair at Maliau Basin
Maliau Basin Conservation Area is a saucer-shaped area consisting of 12 types of pristine forest and a virtually self-contained eco-system spanning 390km2.  It was designated a conservation area by Yayasan Sabah in 1981 and work has been onging since then to preserve the site while facilitating scientific research and eco-tourism. The research centre has seen a rapid expansion but the water source, although adequate enough to supply the needs of the centre, has been damaged by build up of sand and debris due to flooding. We will be working with the rangers to improve the condition of this gravity water feed system - to make it more efficient for the centre and be able to cope with future expansion.

This single phase project will be managed by Nicky, Marie and Paula.

Alpha 7 – Pitas AFC Forestry Reserve
This project marks the beginning of a new conservation initiative in partnership with the Asian Forestry Commission. AFC have identified within their area of operation which they hope to conserve and remain untouched. To achieve this they wish to conduct a survey the topography of the area, and the flora and fauna within it this may include the setting up of wildlife movement capture cameras.

A single phase project for Emily and Leigh.
And finally, the adventure phase. These groups will be diving and trekking, but not necessarily in that order. They will learn new survival skills and undergo some new physical challenges, whilst enjoying the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most exciting environments.
Alpha 8 & 9  These groups will be trekking in the jungle near the Kalimantan (Indonesian) and Sarawak borders in the south of Sabah, starting and finishing in the village of Long Pa Sia. As well as being surrounded by beautiful rivers and rare flora and fauna, venturers will have a great opportunity to interact with the local community. The local guides will be able to provide insight into local environmental issues as well as helping venturers learn new campcraft and jungle skills.

For the dive section, venturers will head off to Mamutik Island, whose sandy seabed is home to a variety of sea life.  They will have the chance to complete their PADI Open Water diving qualification to assist them in some underwater environmental work at the end of the diving phase.
The lucky PMs for Alpha 8’s Dive-Trek are
Phase 1:  Clive, Paz and Leigh
Phase 2:  Clive and Emily
Phase 3:  Clive and Marie

For Alpha 9’s Trek-Dive venturers can look forward to the company of:
Phase 1:  Helen, Jo and Tom
Phase 2:  Helen and Simon
Phase 3:  Helen and Jo

Alpha 10 – Trek – Dive – Trek
Venturers fortunate enough to be allocated to this group will first be trekking in the beautiful Kiulu Valley region in the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu, where they will practice and master the essential skills required for jungle survival. They will swap their walking boots for flippers for the middle part of the phase, having the opportunity to complete their PADI Open Water diving qualification before heading off to the virgin rainforest of the picturesque Crocker Mountain Range for the final week’s trek.
The project managers accompanying this group are:
Phase 1:  Andi and Emma A.
Phase 2:  Andi, Becky and Nicky

We are all extremely excited about starting work on these varied projects.  We'll be meeting new people and learning new skills, and getting to understand a lot more about the communities and environment that we are working in. But before we get that far, it's time to welcome the venturers, who will be arriving in just a few days. Don’t forget to check back next week to see how they are enjoying their training!