1st February 2015
After a week of intensive training in how to use a HF (high frequency) radio, how to put up a basha (hammock bed tied between two trees), a jungle trek, water safety training just to name a few, the project managers have now been allocated to their projects for the expedition and have departed on their project planning visits across Sabah.
The visit involves going to their respective project sites across Sabah and meeting project partners, community leaders, park rangers and trek guides to gain a better understanding of the work before the venturers arrive. On their visits they will also carry out a full risk assessment, a project site casualty evacuation plan and compile a detailed route card on how to get to their remote locations.
Here are the projects for expedition 15A and the project managers who will be looking after them.
Kampung Tiku in the Penampang region is a subsistence farming community with a population of approximately 128 people. The teams here will construct a community learning centre with a kitchen and sanitation units. The learning centre, when complete, will also serve as the village kindergarten.
The project will be looked after by Neesha, Gypsy & Wes (phase 1), Gypsy & Ruth (phase 2) and Annette, Gypsy & Victoria (phase 3).
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
Kampung Soniton Ulu is a small village in the Kota Marudu district of Sabah with a population of approximately 205 people. The teams based here will be repairing and installing a gravity-fed water system as well as constructing sanitation units. They will also implement a full WASH programme which involves activities such as carrying out baseline surveys, community mapping and delivering workshops on good health and hygiene practices.
The project will be looked after by Gabe & Jake (phase 1) and Jake & Tom (phases 2&3).
Natural Resource Management
This expedition, Raleigh Borneo is incredibly fortunate to be working in three Class 1 protected forest reserves. All the sites are managed by our project partner Yayasan Sabah (YS), part of which is a charitable foundation, largely funded by its forestry activity of land allocated to them by the government. To protect some of the areas allocated to them, YS entered into a “Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement” with the Sabah State Government in September 1997 covering an area of 599,828 hectares. Maliau Basin, Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley are all part of this YS “Concession Area” and are home to some of the rarest species of flora and fauna in Borneo. YS, with the support of government agencies are working towards UNESCO World Heritage Status for all three of the sites.
Maliau Basin or ‘Sabah’s Lost World’ as it is often described was only discovered 68 years ago when a pilot almost crashed into the Basin’s ridge line. Our teams based there will be constructing trails and bridges, delivering environmental education sessions to visitors and also assisting researchers and scientists with their work.
The project will be looked after by Maria, Tom & Vinny (phase 1), Vinny & Jess (phase 2) and Jess & Gabe (phase 3).
Danum Valley is home to some of the rarest species in Borneo including the Sumatran rhino, pygmy elephant, orang-utan, gibbon, clouded leopard, the Borneo bay cat and over 270 bird species. The groups here will be constructing a guard hut to help mitigate poaching within the conservation area. They will also undertake plant and animal biodiversity surveys, measure carbon capture and get involved with reforestation activities such as tree planting and seed cultivation.
The project will be looked after by Victoria & Anna (phase 1), Maria, Neesha & Victoria (phase 2) and Maria, Holly & Rachel (phase 3).
Imbak Canyon is one of the last untouched and relatively unexplored primary virgin rainforests in Sabah, if not the whole of Malaysia. After working with Raleigh since 2004 Imbak Canyon achieved Class 1 protection in December 2008 which now prevents any logging from taking place. The teams will be building a suspension bridge to allow greater access to deeper parts of the forest and allow researchers and the rangers to access the areas in the rainy season.
The project will be looked after by Graeme & Markus (phase 1), Annette, Markus & Wes (phase 2) and Wes & Ruth (phase 3).
Adventure and Youth Leadership
Both project teams will trek in the south western corner of Sabah on the Kalimantan and Sarawak border starting from the small village of Long Pa Sia. Long Pa Sia 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. Teams will spend 11-12 days in the jungle trekking in pre-established low impact camps.
The trek/dive projects will be looked after by Ruth & Jess (phase 1), Gabe & Rachel (phase 2) and Graeme & Vinny (phase 3).
The dive/trek projects will be looked after by Rachel & Holly (phase 1), Anna & Holly (phase 2) and Neesha & Markus (phase 3).
When our project managers return, I'll be bringing you more information about each individual project and their thoughts on the experience.