Volunteer abroad on our environmental conservation and community empowerment project in Malaysian Borneo and support an eco camp that provides income and livelihoods to a local community cooperative. This project is a unique initiative that is run for the community by the community, and its employes 49 permanent and up to 120 seasonal staff from 4 local villages. It was set up to protect the forest habitat, wildlife and biodiversity of the local area while preserving the livelihoods of the local population by running tours and boat trips in the forest that the project is working to protect. The eco project funds the conservation work as well as generating employment and educating tourists through its zero waste, zero chemicals, zero energy spreadsheet and water activities. Local school participation and environmental education is also an aim of the project. To date over 332,000 indigenous trees have been planted.
After two fires, in 1983 and 1998, it was discovered that almost zero natural regeneration occurred during the preceding 20 years. The nearby oxbow lake that is a vital source of fish for the locals also suffered in recent years through the presence of the noxious water weed, Salvinia Molesta, which, if left unchecked, will choke critical wetland habitats, turning the once pristine lakes, freshwater swamps and tributaries into festering sludge pits. The project has cleared up the lake and now runs monthly water quality monitoring activities. Join the project and help the eco camp with it’s activities incentivising the sustainable protection of the forest and supporting income generating activities in the local area.
Why choose this project?
Volunteers are needed for both reforestation work and to help to develop the environmental conservation programme for local schools. At this project is run by locals for locals, they are often short staffed especially in peak fishing or harvesting times. The Eco Camp needs to survive so that, not only are people employed, but also so that the conservation work and reforestation work continue. The volunteer benefits from this placement by experiencing first-hand the eco approaches being used for water, chemical and waste management. It will also be a great addition to your CV/Resume as well as a get away from it all experience.
Role of the volunteer
Volunteers may work with forest workers, trained guides and camp workers on a range of tasks:
- reforestation and conservation activities such as seed collection, tree planting and weed clearing
- lake restoration work, mainly removing water weed
- building and construction of walkways, tree hides, eco camp
- support to eco tourism operations, a key income generation activity for the community
- introduction and development of environmental conservation education into local schools
- monitoring of water quality and logging data on GIS
The time spent on these activities will be determined by project needs at the time of your placement.
This fantastic project requires volunteers to be reasonable fit as the work is quite physical. Those with a background in environmental research are highly valued. Also anyone with skills in carpentry or web design can join the project to assist the local professionals possibly to provide a fresh perspective. Volunteers are asked to be flexible, willing to chip in and get to know the local people.
Volunteers will be asked to submit a CV/resume to match the project needs to your background.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To live at the heart of a Bornean community
To learn about the challenges of running an eco tourism business
To be a true responsible traveler
The project is situated in the small village of Mengaris, located on the banks of the beautiful Kinabatangan River. This massive river flows swiftly for an impressive 560km out of the rugged mountainous interior of Borneo to the north-east coast in the Malaysian State of Sabah. The Lower Kinabatangan – where the project is based – slows immensely to meander through an endless floodplain which forms the agricultural heartland of Sabah. You can take in some birdwatching as there are over 200 species of bird, 10 primates, crocodiles, go on a boat trip to look for the probiscus monkey, cave visit, or explore forest trails. This truly is an opportunity for immersion in local habitats and wildlife. Bring a camera and capture some amazing scenery. Why not explore further afield after your placement and visit Kota Kinabalu, climb the challenging mountain or find out about the history of Sandakan.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2 – 26 weeks
- Cost: £665 / $1164 for 2 weeks
£125 / $219 for each extra week
- Requirements: age 18+
- Location: Mengaris Village, Malaysian Borneo
- Project activities: Tree-planting, lake restoration, Eco camp renovations, trail maintenance, wildlife monitoring, visitor registration and admissions work
- Working hours: 08:00 – 17:00 Tuesday to Sunday, 5 – 6 hours max per day.
- Project availability: All year round,
- Arrival day: Every Saturday
What is included
- Accommodation: single sex dormitory style accommodation at the eco camp with shared bathroom, communal areas on 3 decks with dining hall on top deck. Local homestay accommodation is available for an additional £50 / $88 per week.
- Food: 3 meals per day
- Airport pickup and drop off from Sandakan Airport
- Training: Pre-departure information pack, on-site orientation and project induction provided
- Daily transfers to and from your project.
- Support: 24 hour support from on-site coordinaton
- Activities: Staff can help you to plan your weekend activities
What is not included
- Police background check: US and UK citizens processed through Kaya (admin fee applies) all other nationalities must provide local police check.
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.