Each visit to the villages benefits the village by a direct payment from us for canoe rental, village guides and to the village sangar (traditional dance and musicians group). We are tracking these payments so we can measure the impact. We plan that 25% of our profits will go towards micro-finance for village entrepreneurs. Our village facilitation of Eco-tourism plans have been discussed with Government as part of the Governments bottom up planning process.
Prior to establishing this tour operator with Gaye Thavison, partner-director Lorna Dowson-Collins worked for years on a sustainable livelihoods programme – Towards Sustainable Livelihoods in Central Kalimantan. This has resulted in a unique relationship between us and the local community, which is very close and built on trust. This results in good cooperation and communication between us and the local communities.
It is important to us that local people benefit from this enterprise, We engage directly with the local communities by working with them as local guides, rental of canoes, speedboats etc. Food is also purchased locally. We support the local Sangars (village musicians and dance groups) by encouraging our guests to take part in lessons or watch their performances. and to purchase local handicrafts direct from the community. We facilitate the local communities in creating and implementing their own tourism development plans and help to market their services.
We also have a policy to recruit and train our staff from the local community. We have a staff development and training plan to encourage career advancement. We ensure that our staff are well paid, receive performance bonuses and have health insurance.
We have a very educational approach to our trips, explaining about the rehabilitation process and why no physical contact is allowed and the importance of keeping a distance from the orangutan and other wild life so as not to disturb them. We approached BOS about the need for clear guidelines and this has resulted in a working group with the government to ensure all tour operators follow these guidelines. We request all of our guests contribute Rupiah 250000 to BOS to support the work their conservation and orangutan rehabilitation work.
We educate and raise the awareness of both our guests and the local communities about current threats to the environment and steps encourage them to support conservation programs and develop more sustainable livelihood approach for the local communities.
The boat provides a way to travel into the jungle with a low environmental impact as there is no need for the development of roads and the accompanying environmental destruction caused by logging. We are working on ensuring that our boat is as environmentally friendly as possible, we use battery power to run our electricity and ensure that our waste is composted or disposed responsibly.
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