BEST SOCIETY YEAR END SUMMARY 2013

yesThe year 2013, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society in our own modest way has surged ahead in our endeavor to act as an agent of social change in critical areas like public health in Mantanani Island and Pitas as well as community development in Rampai Besar Village with focus on the poor people in the interior area of Borneo.

It is also a year when BEST Society for the first time has been shortlisted as a finalist for 2013 UNWTO Awards in the category of UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations. The result of the winners will be announced in Madrid, Spain on 22nd Jan 2014.

BEST Society would like to thank our sponsors especially Shell Malaysia Limited, ConocoPhillips Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd., our partners Sky community, Blue Life and not forgetting our volunteers who made this projects possible. In this annual report, we would like to share our successes and experiences in community and environment projects as shown below.

  1. Free Medical and Dental Treatment for Mantanani Island Community
  2. BEST Society Received Shell’s Grant for Organic Farming Project
  3. Camp Lemiang – A Community Based Ecotourism Project
  4. The Launching of Organic Farming Project, Kg Rampai Besar, Kudat Sabah
  5. Enzyme Workshop for Organic Farming Entrepreneurs
  6. Study Trip to Canaan Farmers Institute
  7. Career Talk for Rural School Students
  8. Shell’s Seed Fund II for Farmers
  9. Educational Talk on Organic Farming by Korean Expert
  10. Mandamai Village received the much awaited water tanks – Bengkoka Living Water Phase 3

1. Free Medical and Dental Treatment for Mantanani Island Community

The volunteers taking group photo before departing to Mantanani Island by boat

The volunteers taking group photo before
departing to Mantanani Island by boat

The villagers of Mantanani island receiving dental treatment

The villagers of Mantanani island receiving
dental treatment

On the 8th June 2013, Borneo Eco Tours (BET) and Borneo Ecotourism Solutions & Technologies (BEST) worked with NGOs; Skycommunity and Blue Life to conduct a free medical and dental project on Mantanani Island. The volunteer-doctors were from the Sabah State Health and Dental Department with different specialist, which included eight medical doctors, two House doctors, six dental doctors, five pharmacists and one nutritionist. This is the fourth medical project organized by BEST and BET for rural communities. A total of 307 patients including women and children sought for medical treatment while 139 went for dental check up or teeth extraction. Free medicines as per prescriptions of the doctors were provided to all the patients and this was well managed by the pharmacists. The children were also taught the proper steps of brushing teeth. Each child was given a toothbrush and toothpaste. The Mantanani villagers expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the medical project that was provided at their doorstep. Such projects, if organized regularly will be able to upgrade the islanders’ health and sanitary.

2) BEST Society Received Shell’s Grant for Organic Farming Project

Borneo Ecotourism Solutions & Technologies Society (BEST) was one of the 13 award recipients shortlisted from 63 applicants throughout Malaysia in this year‘s Shell Sustainable Development Grants Programme to receive financial support from Shell for its community organic farming project at Kg. Rampai Besar, Kudat. This project focuses on the empowerment of the local Rungus communities through capacity building while promoting healthy diet. This grant, RM40,000.00 in total will help BEST Society to assist the local community not only to generate alternative and sustainable sources of income, but continue providing education on environmental conservation through organic farming.

The 13 grants recipients with Chairman of Shell Malaysia Mr Iain Lo and GOH, Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The 13 grants recipients with Chairman of
Shell Malaysia Mr Iain Lo and Guest of Honour, Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik, Deputy Secretary
General, Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment.

For a community project (organic farming) in Kudat,Sabah.

For a community project (organic farming) in
Kudat,Sabah.

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3) Camp Lemaing – A joint Community Project

Meeting in progress at Kg. Kiau Nuluh with the stakeholders.

Meeting in progress at Kg. Kiau Nuluh with the
stakeholders.

The local community creating a work of art guided by Isabel Sandeman.

The local community creating a work of art
guided by Isabel Sandeman.

Camp lemaing, a new Community Based Ecotourism CBET project, was conceived mid of this year as a joint project between Borneo Eco Tours, BEST Society, Sabah Society and the dusun community of Kiau and funded by Sabah Credit Corporation. The purpose of this eco lodge is to provide training and employment opportunity to the local people in Kampung Kiau Nuluh, at the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu. Blessed with significant historical value, Kiau Nuluh was the starting point of the original route used by Sir Hugh Low in his first documented climb to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. Construction work started in August 2013 and is expected to complete before April 2014. Named after one of the guides to Sir Hugh Low, Camp Lemaing, which was designed by local architects Ian Hall and Yukio Hasegawa, and built mostly using local river stones and bamboo with local labour can accommodate 16 trekkers. The management of the camp is expected to be handed over to the land owner Martin Moguring after five years.

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 4) The Launching of Organic Farming Project, Kg Rampai Besar, Sikuati, Sabah

Villagers of Kg. Rampai Besar and the teachers from SMK Sikuati with their students are attending the project launching ceremony.

Villagers of Kg. Rampai Besar and the teachers
from SMK Sikuati with their students are
attending the project launching ceremony.

Group photo with the ten recipients of the seed funds from Shell

Group photo with the ten recipients of the seed
funds from Shell

On 19th June 2013, Albert Teo, the Chairman of Borneo Ecotourism, Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society launched the Organic Farming Project at Kg Rampai Besar, Sikuati, Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia. The launching coincided with the World Environment Day on 5th June.

With grant from Shell, a pioneer group of ten families were selected to participate in this project. They are Freslie Bin Noyet, Marajun Bin Mulihin, Katinah Binti Lanyin, Rambus @ Rens Bin Soborong, Taisung Bin Umat, Tingkong Bin Umat, Salleh Bin Ng Kham Fatt, Jomil Bin Ojumpa, Disin B. Mulihin and Fred Bin Olinggang. A total of RM6,000.00 seed funds were distributed among them, of which each family received RM600.00. The balance of the Shell grant was used in later stage, which included site visits and seminars.

Among those present at the launching were representatives from Sikuati Health Clinic and 26 students with their teachers from SMK Sikuati. Two speakers were invited to give talks on organic farming and the benefits of organic farming. BEST Society will continue to work and collaborate with other relevant agencies such as the Agriculture and Kudat Health Department for education and counseling assistance.

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5) Enzyme Workshop for Organic Farming Entrepreneurs

The trainer is explaining the method of preparing enzyme.

The trainer is explaining the method of
preparing enzyme.

Exposing the mixture of enzyme coverred with plastic in the basin to the sun

Exposing the mixture of enzyme covered with plastic in the basin to the sun

 Borneo Ecotourism, Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society successfully organised a workshop to teach making of enzyme for organic farming in Kg Rampai Besar Community Hall, Kudat, Malaysia on 29th June 2013.

The half day workshop was conducted by trainer, Mr. Oh Sung Doh and attended by 19 participants including 10 participants from the Organic Farming Project sponsored by Shell and three teachers from SMK Sikuati 2. This workshop focused on the simple method used to prepare the enzyme at low cost. The purpose of making enzyme is to help in the composting process of organic matter.

Mr. Oh, himself a farmer from South Korea learned this technique from his father who spent forty years on research. During his workshop, he urged everybody to stop using pesticide and fertilizers to grow the vegetable as the chemical substance will accumulate through food chain and end up in human’s body. Both pesticides and chemical fertilizers will deteriorate human health and unborn babies if consumed in a long term.

Participants offered positive feedback on the new experience.

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6) Study Tour to Canaan Farmers Institute

Participant being taught to handle ploughing machine

Participant being taught to handle ploughing machine

The participants of organic farming together with the trainers from Canaan Farmers Institute

The participants of organic farming together
with the trainers from Canaan Farmers Institute

On 15th August, a total of 10 farmers of Shell-BEST Society’s Organic Farming Project from Kg Rampai, Besar, Kudat along with two representatives from BEST Society participated in a two-day training at the Canaan Farmers Institute at Marak Parak, Kudat. The aim of this trip is to motivate, change their mindset, develop leadership skills in addition to learning farming techniques and use of farm equipment.

Dr. Barnabas Chai, an experienced trainer and principal from Canaan Farm talked about the meaning of becoming pioneer and the importance of pioneering spirit. The sessions emphasized on the discipline of the participants. At the end of the session, the participants realized that in order to move forward, they need to have the right mindset and positive thinking. This study trip was organized by BEST Society as part of the Organic Farming Project and funded through Shell’s Sustainable Development Grants Programme. The total expenses recorded for this trip was RM 2,935.50.

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7) Career Talk for Rural School Students

Willie from BEST Society giving talk on the choices of career opportunity available in Sabah.

Willie from BEST Society giving talk on the
choices of career opportunity available in Sabah.

Group photo with the students from Sky community Kota Marudu Hostel

Group photo with the students from Sky
community Kota Marudu Hostel

From 11th-12th October 2013, three members of BEST Society delivered a career talk to 25 high school students of Sky community Kota Marudu hostel in Kundasang, Malaysia. Susan Soong, Jessica Peter and Willie Ki presented an educational program, covering motivation, personality and career path topic. The two days program was intended to provide a clear picture for these rural area students about education and job opportunity available particularly in the state of Sabah and Malaysia.

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8) Shell’s Seed Fund II for Farmers

Site visit to the participants' farms

Site visit to the participants’ farms

Green mustard vegetable ready to be marketed

Green mustard vegetable ready to be marketed

Chilli – one of the vegetables planted by the participants

Chilli – one of the vegetables planted by the
participants

Recipients of the second seeds fund from Shell amounting in total RM5,000.

Recipients of the second seeds fund from Shell
amounting in total RM5,000.

The chairman of BEST Society, Albert Teo handed over the second seed funds amounting RM 5,000.00 to the ten participants of the Organic Farming at the community hall of Kg Rampai Besar, Sikuati, Kudat, Sabah on 8th November 2012. Each participant received RM 500.00. The farmers had received RM600.00 respectively in June this year, which is part of the RM40,000.00 grant from Shell.

After receiving the grant, all the 10 participants shared their challenges and success stories with BEST Society members. It was inspiring to learn that most of them managed to sell their organic vegetable at local market in Sikuati and Kudat. Kartini, the only women participant in this project shared her  joy stating that she can finish selling her vegetable by 9.00am every day in a Kudat market. Several farmers were excited with the plan by BEST Society to expand crop production.

Earlier before the meeting, BEST Society members together with Jerri Mulihin, the BEST liaison coordinator visited several farms to see personally the conditions of the farm and progress of the participants. At the end of the meeting, the farmers decided to collectively contribute RM200.00 each to buy a ploughing machine to expedite farming process.

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9) Educational Talk on Organic Farming by Korean Expert

Invited speaker from Korea, Mr Oh Jung Myun

Invited speaker from Korea, Mr Oh Jung
Myun

Group photos with the invited speaker

Group photos with the invited speaker

Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society invited Mr Oh Jung Myun, an organic farming expert from South Korea to give a talk to the farmers at Kg Rampai, Besar, Kudat, Malaysia on 11th December 2013.

This talk is part of the program under the Organic Farming Project funded by the Shell Malaysia Sustainable Development Grant aimed at developing sustainable organic farming while promoting healthy diet and to generate higher income for the local Rungus communities in Kudat.

In the half-day workshop, the farmers were taught how to make the dead soil become healthy again by using enzyme. He also shared his knowledge on how to control the attack from insects and methods to protect the vegetable from wind and rain. He added that to become a successful organic farmer, hard work is the key ingredient.

The talk ended at 12.30 pm after the questions & answers session. A total of RM 1,096.20 was spent for the talk, which included lunch for the participants and logistic expenditure.

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10) Mandamai Village received the much awaited water tanks – Bengkoka Living Water Phase 3

Inspecting the source of gravity water for Mandamai village

Inspecting the source of gravity water for Mandamai village

One of the Mandamai villagers are asking question during the water tank dialog session

One of the Mandamai villagers are asking
question during the water tank dialog session

Transfering the water tanks by using a 4WD vehicle

Transfering the water tanks by using a 4WD
vehicle

Some of the water tank recipients posing in front of their tanks

Some of the water tank recipients posing in front
of their tanks

The community of Mandamai, a village nestled deep in the interior on the Bengkoka River, Pitas, Sabah on Malaysian Borneo has every reason to celebrate Christmas early as the much-awaited water tanks arrived on 13th December 2013. The “Bengkoka Living Water” project was financed by the US-based energy corporation, ConocoPhillips and coordinated by Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society and Sky Community (SIB Skyline).

After three exploratory trips and meetings with the local community, 32 units of water tanks with capacity of 400 gallons each were finally delivered to Mandamai to solve the shortage of clean water. The water tanks will benefit 30 households (115 people) altogether. Without water tanks, the villagers including women and children had to physically get water supply from the Bengkoka River using buckets. Apart from that, the risk of disease infection is high as the river water is polluted with chemical run off from nearby oil palm plantations. The villagers now only need to walk a few steps to fetch water for washing or cooking (except in the dry season).

To-date, three “Bengkoka Living Water” projects have successfully delivered 66 water tanks to three villages (Lugu, Pandan and Mandamai) and benefited 348 people. Approximately, RM11,272.80, RM10,377.20 and RM24,480.75 were spent for phase one, two and three respectively with donation from ConocoPhillips amounting to RM 51,072.00. A fourth project at Kobon is expected to be implemented in early 2014.

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  • June 8, 2016

    […] It is also a year when BEST Society for the first time has been shortlisted as a finalist for 2013 UNWTO Awards in the category of UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations. The result of the winners will be announced in Madrid, Spain on 22nd Jan 2014. Read more… […]