Connecting with Villagers of Kg Kobon and Kg Lugu

On Labour Day 1st of May, 2014, nine volunteers from Borneo Ecotourism, Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society and SkyCommunity embarked on a four hour journey to Pitas, northern Sabah, Malaysia. The purpose of this visit is to have a dialogue session and strengthen community spirit with local villagers of Kg Kobon before the implementation of Bengkoka Living Water project phase 4.

A convoy of 4WD vehicles left Kota Kinabalu at 7.00am and reached Kg Kobon at 11.30am. The volunteers were greeted by Mejol Sukuan (representative from the village) before being led into the village passing through jungles and across the suspension bridge over Bengkoka River.

The volunteers spent time listening to some 50 villagers sharing their life challenges in the interior and their future direction in life. Three local leaders who attended the Canaan Farm Institute training sponsored by BEST Society also shared their experiences and knowledge. Highly motivated after completed the training, Ester Roney Taipok, one of the female participants enlisted the local women at Kg Kobon and initiated chili, groundnuts and corn cultivation. Mejol Sukuan on the other hand had planted 3,200 chilies in his village, Kg Lugu and yam cultivation in the near future.

After visiting the farms and interviewing the farmers at Kobon, the volunteers trekked to Kg. Lugu to seek feedback from the families and recipients since the installation of the water tank Phase 1 in Sept 2012. The villagers had nothing but praise for BEST Society, Skycommunity and ConocoPhillips for the supply of the water tanks which have provided convenience for their daily chores. Before this, they have to collect the water from the Bengkoka River several times a day during dry seasons – some as far as 3 km away.

To-date, BEST Society partner with Skycommunity have implemented three “Bengkoka Living Water Projects”. The project was first launched in September 2012 (Kg Lugu) while the second phase was completed in December 2012 (Kg. Pandan) with a total funding of RM25,280.00 from ConocoPhillips (33 water tanks benefitting 233 people). ConocoPhillips donated another RM25,792.00 for Living Water Project Phase 3, Kg Mandamai (32 water tanks for 115 members). Each recipient of the water tank also contributed a small sum of money to cultivate a sense of ownership and the “spirit of giving and receiving”. In total, the recipients of water tanks from Kg Lugu, Kg Pandan and Kg Mandamai contributed RM 530.00, RM810.00 and RM 2,250.00, respectively. The remaining fund from ConocoPhillips and the contribution from the villagers will be used to finance “Bengkoka Living Water” project phase 4 in 2014.

1

Dialogue session at Kg Kobon

2

Mr Joseph addressed the needs of the village

3

Group photo with the leaders of Kg Kobon

4

Eating the local way – sitting on the floor

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The women group of Kg Kobon are coorperating to clear the land for chili plantation.

8

Mr Zico Lukis interviewing Mr Majuning B. Ugi, who received a water tank in September 2012

7

Water tanks of Mr Majuning B. Ugi

6

Water tank being put to great use.

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