Sukau’s Local Naturalist Guides

Sukau Rainforest Lodge at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia employs 14 staff, of whom 11 are locals

In September last year; the lodge took on its first local Orang Sungai naturalist guides, Jaini Ahmad and Sugiman Sugiat joined the lodge as general workers in 1996 and 1999 respectively. Neither could speak English when they arrived but with in-house training and courses in English, they were able to upgrade their skills before undertaking a three-week course on nature guiding in Kota Kinabalu.

The cost for each of them (including food and lodging) of RM2,500 (US$659) was sponsored by the Sukau Ecotourism Research & Development Centre (SERDC). Set up by Sukau Rainforest Lodge in 1999, one of its objectives is to provide scholarships to train the local Orang Sungai in Sukau, buy tree seedlings from the local people for the tree planting programme and sponsor worthwhile medical projects for children. Over the two years SERDC has raised nearly RM34,800 (US$9,170) and spent over RM30,500 (US$8,037) on community projects.

This year, a biogas project to convert human and animal solid waste to cooking gas is being developed and implemented. Ultimately the company plans, with overseas expertise, to build at least ten biogas plants for the local communities in Sukau.

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