What impact are 17M’s projects having in Sabah?

20th November 2017

It’s all well and good sending our teams of volunteers out into the remote communities and wild jungles of Sabah, but what is the actual point of it all?

Why install a gravity fed water system? Yes, of course, it means that the community, in this case Kampung Buruni, have reliable access to clean water. That much is obvious, but what is the big picture? What are the overarching goals that we are working towards, that a water system, or a tandas, or a biodiversity survey all feed into?

These are the questions that we put to our teams of venturers upon their return to basecamp after Phase 1. It is crucial for all of us to understand the wider impacts of our projects, and how all of our work isn’t restricted to the realms of community or environmental, but is actually interconnected in one single great effort.


The centre of the Impact Wheel

Our venturers were tasked with mapping out all of their project outputs, such as a tandas, or a baseline survey and then connecting them to the outcomes, or the effects, from delivering that output, such as increased access to safe water. Then we challenged them to think of what the impacts of those outcomes are

Output: 1 tandas constructed
Outcome: Increased access to improved sanitation
Impact: Less illness leading to a better quality of life and more productivity

Once each Alpha group had discussed their project’s impacts, we started to get creative with our information. Using a plethora of arts and crafts, they headed out onto the basecamp lawn and created an enormous art installation showcasing all of the hard work of Expedition 17M and what the big impacts are hopefully going to be.

All these outputs, outcomes and impacts were then joined together into an interlinked web of meaningful change, highlighting the connections and interplays between our 4 projects as well as within them.

Adam at the centre of the wheel
Adam at the centre of the wheel

Finally, we stood back and admired our work; the impact wheel of Expedition 17M. On the face of it, our volunteers are building a community learning centre, running awareness raising sessions, identifying areas of high conservation value and leading teams through the jungle for 16 days. In reality, it’s so much bigger. Just a few of the impacts our venturers identified from their work include mitigating against climate change, restoring the biodiversity of forest ecosystems, poverty alleviation and empowering the leaders of the future.

Indeed these impacts in Sabah all feed into an even greater global impact, meaningful positive change that our volunteers should all be very proud of.

Words by Adam, photos and video by Larysa

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