A new chapter dawns in Borneo

23rd August 2018

Since 1987 Raleigh has partnered with young people from Malaysia and across the globe to make meaningful and lasting positive change in Malaysian Borneo. Following extensive analysis, the decision has been taken to bring our Expedition operations to a close in October 2018.

In the state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, our work over three decades has focused on providing access to safe water and sanitation, building resilient communities, and contributing to conservation, protection and research in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet.

The difficult but necessary decision to close operations was taken after a detailed assessment for the justification of our presence in an international development context. Malaysia is a high Human Development Index (HDI) country – the highest of any of the countries we currently work in. In our strategy for 2017-2020, we made a commitment to support young people in low and medium HDI countries to drive sustainable development as partner and leaders in their countries, and to increase our impact and contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is far from the end of Raleigh’s presence in Malaysia however, with the closing of this chapter of our work beckoning the start of an exciting new one.

Over the past year we have been working closely with our alumni-led National Societies, Raleigh Sabah Society and Raleigh International Kuala Lumpur, to support and empower them in their movement to help build a sustainable future in Malaysia.

Collectively known as Raleigh Malaysia, they will continue to engage young people as partners and leaders in the design and delivery of projects and expeditions, aimed at bringing lasting change to the communities and natural environments of Malaysia. The two Societies have pledged to join forces and undertake a series of collaborative expeditions across both East and West Malaysia. Their shared vision includes carrying out volunteer projects with the same level of impact and standard of operational safety that Raleigh programmes deliver across the globe.

Our long history and dedicated alumni networks mean our work in Malaysia has a firm foundation to build our legacy on. After 31 years, we have a lot to be proud of.

Over 6,500 volunteers have participated in a Raleigh Expedition in Borneo, working with 49 partner organisations and sponsors.

During that time we have worked in 110 communities, bringing clean water, sanitation and access to education to almost 30,000 community members. This work has included the construction of 85 gravity water systems and 31 community learning centres.

We have delivered projects in nine conservation areas, including in four globally important tropical rainforest ecosystems. Our work has supported Sabah’s conservation efforts and inspired generations of environmental advocates.

As our next chapter in the region passes to Raleigh Malaysia, there is great cause for optimism and excitement. We can look forward to a bright and sustainable future in Malaysia and know that through our Societies, young alumni and future volunteers, our legacy will live on.


On the 8th September we will be hosting an event in Kota Kinabalu celebrating the achievements and impact of the past 31 years, and formally handing over the legacy of Raleigh in Malaysia to the National Societies. We’ll be posting more information about this event soon. 

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