09 July 2020
LGS supports a biodiversity reserve called Rimba Raya in Kalimantan, Indonesia. In addition to conservation and climate mitigation, the project provides employment and educational opportunities to the local population.
Zu-Per is an example how a women’s village enterprise can be transformed, with the right technical advice and support.
Until recently, the shrimp paste made in the village of Sungai Perlu on the Java Sea coast in Central Kalimantan had no name and was made mostly for local consumption. It was not packaged to meet national health standards and nor was it cooked to preserve it, so the paste only lasted for about a month.
The Rimba Raya Conservation programme team identified this as an exciting business opportunity resulting in an effective way to boost local incomes. The village is one of 14 that Rimba Raya supports and the programme team asked the local families that make the shrimp paste how best they could assist them.
Everyone involved saw the need to improve the paste’s quality and packaging with a focus on obtaining the national health and safety certification, which they received in April of 2015 with support provided by Rimba Raya. The villagers named the paste Zu-Per, after their village and the brand name now appears on their plastic packaging.
“In the past, shrimp paste only fetched 20,000 rupiah (about US$1.50) a kg. But after we developed Zu-Per, the price has gone up to 50,000 rupiah because we have improved the quality,” said Heldawaty, 34, the Sungai Perlu village chief.
“Rimba Raya has become a facilitator by inviting officials from the offices of maritime, industry and cooperative as well as health. They came to check directly. (Rimba Raya) was also involved in helping get permits from the National Agency of Drugs and Food Control,” she said recently during an interview at the house in Kuala Pembuang where the paste is cooked and packaged.
Misbah, 35, who heads the group that makes the shrimp paste, also agreed the investment in transforming Zu-Per has made a big difference to the village.
“I, on behalf of people in Sungai Perlu, would like extend our big thanks to (Rimba Raya). It never occurred to us that a shrimp paste business can develop into this … that the price can be this high,” she said.
Improving The Lives of Current and Future Generations
In 2015 InfiniteEARTH and Rimba Raya established a Scholarship fund with the goal of educating children within our concession and along the Rimba Raya boundary.
In addition to proving the school supplies and monetary donations to all children, we are giving incentives to high achievers while promoting a more positive attitude towards education by offering 3 year scholarships to hard working and dedicated children.
Currently we have built libraries in two villages and are considering additional libraries in other remote villages, including Sungai Perlu village, in the Southern Unit. Our library “Rekreasi Ulba” in Ulak Batu village holds 1,273 books and Library “Harati Bersama” in Muara Dua village holds 1,679 books, covering reading levels from beginner to advanced. We also support literacy for adults by making the ever popular ‘how to’ books available for them.
We endeavour to work with local governments to ensure a quality education and fair disbursement of the Scholarship funds to each village.
Providing Employment And Income By Repairing Damaged Land
The Rimba Raya Conservation (RRC) team has worked closely with local villages to develop a programme that helps provide employment and income from tree planting. Supporting community Nurseries is vital to the success of any tree planting initiative. This knowledge has led to our funding several nurseries in and around the concession area.
Tree saplings are sourced from these community nurseries, we empower people by embracing the traditional expertise of local stakeholders who help to ensure that only indigenous trees are planted in the area. We pay the communities to plant the trees which has given many individuals in the concession area a steady income resulting in increased economic stability.
Non-cash crops are developed to reforest degraded areas and cash-crops to create diversified sustainable income for communities.
Rimba Raya provides technical support, teaching people how to produce high-quality seedlings. We give them capital to produce seedlings, and then teach them how to plant trees and take care of them. The next stage is to make sure people can be independent in restoring damaged land, burnt land. To make it productive again or return it to its condition as a natural, forested area.
In November 2018, we planted 3.500 mangrove tree saplings and in July 2019 an additional 16,500 mangrove tree saplings were planted. This brings the total of mangroves being planted in that time frame to 20.000. We’ve signed contracts with corporate sponsors to plant another 100,000 in 2020 and 2021.
In the last quarter of 2019, 16,587 forest seedlings were growing in our North Unit nursery, these will be ready to be planted in March 2020. That equates to approximately 1 tree per village per day (10 per day) or 3,650 trees per year from being harvested.
We have partnered with the Seruyan Government who hope to develop the area as a tourist destination and who also understand the value of a thriving mangrove ecosystem.