Borneo, the world’s third largest island, accounts for just 1% of the world’s land yet holds approximately 6% of global biodiversity in its rich tropical forests. However, over the last few decades, over half of these forests have been lost or degraded and the remaining rainforest is increasingly threatened with disturbance or fragmentation.
Raleigh Borneo is committed to conserving and restoring this vital and unique forest biodiversity by empowering local communities to be the stewards of its sustainable management. From this objective, the Sustainable Alternative Livelihoods for Youth in Borneo programme was developed. The program seeks to support young people to develop green microenterprises that improve the conservation of the forest and strengthen efforts to interdict wildlife trafficking.
Over 100 young people from 42 communities in the Telupid watershed area of Sabah have been engaged since June 2017. The programme includes training from field experts and government departments in wildlife monitoring, sustainable forest management and awareness raising.
Following this, the participants are invited to take part in a 9 week enterprise training programme where their sustainable business ideas are fostered and developed into viable business propositions.
Budding entrepreneur Badrul explains his inspiration for joining the programme and what he wants to get out of it: “I joined because I want to get more experience and knowledge about the environment and nature. I want to learn about sustainable agriculture because I only know about farming using chemicals. I want to show people how to organically farm so we take care of our environment, nature and health. I’m learning about how to sustain a business and generate income.”
Across the 9 weeks, the participants will hone their business skills in sessions such as market research, finance and business planning. At the end of the programme, the prospective entrepreneurs will pitch their business plans to a panel of representatives from Raleigh Borneo and the project partners. The businesses that are the most viable and meet the programme’s objectives will be awarded seed funding to launch their new concepts.
Guiding the entrepreneurs through this process are Raleigh Borneo’s Volunteer Facilitators. Lina explains, “meeting the participants here and seeing them eager to learn makes me want to help them.”
We’ll return soon for more news from the entrepreneurs to hear more about their innovative ideas and their preparations for the pitching stage.
The Sustainable Alternative Livelihoods for Youth in Borneo programme is a joint initiative by Raleigh Borneo and Land, Empowerment, Animals, People (LEAP). It has received funding from the United States’ Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs and from the Legacy of Sarah Young.
Keep in touch with any of our volunteers by completing the linked contact form.
Words and photography by Raleigh Borneo Programmes Officer Adam J. Young.