With support from Yayasan Haji Zainuddin, SEARRP in partnership with Swansea University Science for School Scheme, Sabah Environmental Education Network and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) Trust, will co-develop Environmental Education (EE) modules and deliver capacity building to local EE practitioners and educators. This one-year project aims to bring together scientists, EE and community specialists in order to develop an EE toolkit that consists of modules, materials, handbooks and hands-on activities in the key environmental areas of agricultural sustainability, riparian reserves and water quality, and maintaining biodiversity. The project will then use this EE toolkit to train and empower local EE practitioners and educators through an intensive “train-the-trainers” pilot programme.
To ensure that this project is relevant to rural communities in Sabah, an essential aspect is to engage with partner organisations, in order to get their support and learn from their expertise. SEARRP recently had the opportunity to meet with Hutan Environmental Awareness Programme (HEAP) team, which is based on the Kinabatangan River in the village of Sukau, to learn from their extensive experience conducting EE programmes and to gauge their interest in participating in our train-the-trainer pilot programme. HEAP started their Environmental Education programme in 2003 with the aim of raising awareness amongst communities in Sabah about the importance of orang-utans and other wildlife and the need to protect and manage their fragile environment. HEAP initially started their EE outreach in the Kinabatangan area, but have expanded their reach across the state of Sabah over the past 15 years. SEARRP is looking forward to working with HEAP, and the larger Hutan team, on this project and are very grateful for the help and insight that they will bring to the train-the-trainers programme scheduled for later this year.
After our meeting with HEAP, SEARRP had a follow-up engagement meeting with project partner PACOS trust. PACOS is a community-based organisation that is dedicated to empowering indigenous people in Sabah. PACOS has been involved with this project from the start, and has offered helpful advice and plenty of guidance for outreach to rural communities across Sabah. This meeting was focused on the content of the Environmental Education materials that we are creating, to ensure that they are inline with EE materials that PACOS has used before and to check if our initial module ideas are relevant to local communities. We are incredibly thankful for the support from both of these organisations and we are looking forward to working with them more in the months to come.