Integrating Watershed Development and Conservation in the Ancestral Forests of Ulu Papar

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In this project, Green Empowerment and Tonibung seek to improve the socioeconomic and environmental well being of the villages of Pongobonon, Lokogungan and Kalangaan in Malaysia.

In this project Green Empowerment and Tonibung seek to improve the socioeconomic and environmental wellbeing in villages of the Ulu Papar rainforest region in Malaysia. The preservation of the Ulu Papar rainforest is critical not only to the survival of the local Dusun culture, but also to the environmental health of the region. The Borneo rainforest sequesters vast stores of carbon and biodiversity, yet it faces continual pressure from expanding agricultural, logging, oil palm plantations, mega dam projects and mining and other extraction industries. Residents are also confronted by reduced water availability, soil degradation and other pressures on their natural resources caused by climate change. The aim of the project is to provide the three villages of Pongobonon, Lokogungan and Kalangaan with access to clean water, renewable electricity and income generation opportunities, doing so in a manner that will protect the villages' natural and cultural resources . The project activities include:

  • Constructing three micro-hydro power systems to provide electricity for 500 people living in 50 extended family households
  • Building pipe gravity and water filtration systems for the three villages
  • Strengthening cooperatives and establishing finance mechanisms for small-scale agricultural processing
  • Conducting training in systems operation, maintenance and administration
  • Developing watershed protection plans for each village to preserve 2231 hectares of tropical rainforest
Tonibung will design, manufacture and install a pico-hydro turbine with a concrete casing and recycled aluminum pelton wheel at the Pongobonon site. This turbine model has been installed in numerous villages in Sri Lanka by Janathakshan, with whom Tonibung is arranging a technology transfer. Turbines for Kalangaan and Longkogungan will be sourced from Indonesian manufacturers who custom-build their products according to the specifications of the user. To reduce the costs of the turbines, Tonibung has started manufacturing base frames in-house and sourcing generators locally. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the MHPs, between 2 and 5 community members in each village will be trained as operators. Approximately 500 people will directly benefit from drinking water and renewable electricity, while resource management and organic farming activities will contribute to the broader watershed health, benefiting additional downstream users.

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