Introducing our projects for 15J expedition

4th October 2015

The expedition lasts for 10 weeks; 5 days of induction and then 3 phases which each last for circa 19 days. The majority of our young volunteers will participate in the full 10 week expedition, but some volunteers also join for 7 week experiences during the expedition cycle.

Raleigh Borneo’s project groups are known as Alpha groups. Each group will consist of 2-3 project managers and between 10-11 young volunteers. The groups are deployed on a phase by phase basis; which means project managers and young volunteers are mixed up in new teams for each stage of their expedition journey.

Raleigh works through, for and with young people to inspire and make positive change in five programmatic areas – water and sanitation hygiene (WASH), community resilience, natural resource management (NRM), youth leadership and national societies. In this expedition, Raleigh Borneo will be focusing on three of those programme areas. 15J has two WASH projects, two NRM projects, and finally adventure and youth leadership – trek.

All of Raleigh’s projects are collaborative; which means we work in partnership with project partners and local communities to address a specific problem or meet an identified need.

The projects are located throughout Sabah. The travel time to a couple of the project sites may be up to 10 hours!

15J projects - Sabah map

So let’s briefly introduce you to our projects for 15J, and reveal the project manager allocations for phase 1!

Sonsogon Paliu (Alpha 1) lies in the north of Sabah, in the Pitas region on the banks of the River Magandai. It has a population of approximately 100 people, and 20 households. The village’s main sources of income are from small rubber plantations or the farming of sweet potatoes, rice, long beans, tapioca and fruits.

Sonsogon Paliu

The village requested collaboration with Raleigh Borneo to build a new gravity fed water system to supply increased, and more reliable, access to clean water and to reduce their reliance on river water. New toilets will also be built as part of this project. Other activities undertaken by the group will include baseline surveys, and organising Action Days to raise awareness about best practice health and hygiene.

The project partner is the Asian Forestry Company.

Sonsogon Paliu phase 1
Alpha 1 project managers: Beth and Tina

Kampung Kiau Nuluh and Kiau Bersatu (Alpha 2) are two neighbouring communities located in the valley at the base of Mount Kinabalu. The villages vary considerably in population; Kiau Nuluh consists of 100 households and Kiau Bersatu 20 households. Income is from eco-tourism, paid employment with companies in the region, or farming.

Kiau Nuluh and Kiau Bersatu

As a result of an earthquake on June 5th the water sources in both villages were damaged. In partnership with the villagers and the project partner, Alpha 2 will be repairing the established gravity fed water systems; replacing pipes, moving storage tanks and building a new tandas (toilet). Alongside this work the young volunteers will be conducting baseline surveys, and health issue awareness training in collaboration with the villagers.

The project partner is the PACOS (Partnership of Community Organisations Sabah) Trust.

Kiau Nuluh and Kiau Bersatu project managers
Alpha 2 project managers: Louise, Sally and JP

Danum Valley Conservation Area (Alpha 3) contains a huge variety of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, helping make Sabah one of the richest bio-diverse places in the world. However, de-forestation and poaching are two key threats to this bio-diversity.

Volunteers deployed to Danum Valley in phase 1 will continue the work commenced during the previous expedition; completing a guard hut to help the rangers prevent poachers entering the area, and progressing the foundations for a suspension bridge which will ultimately help researchers and other visitors to access the rainforest. Additional Alpha 3 activities include developing signage for some of the trails in the conservation area and undertaking a 7km group trek into untouched primary rainforest.

Danum Valley

Danum Valley project managers
Alpha 3 project managers: John and Amy

Imbak Canyon (Alpha 4) is one of the last untouched and relatively unexplored primary virgin forests in Sabah, if not the whole of Malaysia. Its rich biodiversity and importance as a water catchment area makes it a significant area for conservation. Researchers view the massive variation in species as a gene bank to help with future reforestation.

Imbak Canyon falls

Imbak Canyon project managers
Alpha 4 project managers: Vari, Jess and Anna

The young volunteers will be working on building a suspension bridge, an important piece of infrastructure allowing rangers and researchers to cross the Imbak River safely throughout the year. Rangers will not only be able to patrol the area more frequently, but researchers will be able to access deeper parts of the forest and reach sections that may never have been explored before.

The project partner for both Danum Valley and Imbak Canyon is Yayasan Sabah.

Adventure and Youth Leadership (Alpha 5/ 6) is the embodiment of a Raleigh Borneo trek. The trek is set against the backdrop of the stunning Crocker Range. At the beginning of the phase, each group will take part in a leadership development day. The young volunteers then use that knowledge and tools to practice their leadership skills in the challenging and dynamic environment that is trek. A special mention must go to our amazing jungle guide Hanri and his assistant guides who provide all the local ‘know how’, navigating the teams between camps deep into the jungle.


Trek project managers
Alpha 5 project managers: Ade and Jill

So that’s 15J – all we need now is some young volunteers!

Meanwhile, coming up next on the blog – a project manager account of a project planning visit to Sonsogon Paliu.


Climate and Conservation Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Youth In Civil Society Malaysian Borneo