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Gana Village project to be completed in memory of Masayuki Kishimoto

May 16, 2024

The Lingkabau Forest Reserve boasts incredible biodiversity; it’s home to endangered sun bears, clouded leopards, pangolins, and civet cats, just to name a few species. Near this natural treasure is the village of Gana, a settlement created in the late 1990s when the government forced residents of 10 villages across the region of Sabah to relocate. Gana’s residents are committed to protecting the forest from logging, yet often struggle with their own livelihoods. 

A new Seacology project aims to both improve the community’s ability to implement more productive small-scale farming, and encourage the stewardship of their protected forest. It supports the creation of trail maps, markers, and a hiking shelter; as well as vital community infrastructure such as greenhouses, water tanks, and irrigation systems. Our affiliate Seacology Japan is fully funding this project, ensuring that both Gana Village and the Lingkabau Forest Reserve will thrive.

Masayuki Kishimoto

The gift from Seacology Japan honors the memory of Masayuki Kishimoto, a longtime member of the Seacology Board who, sadly, passed away last year. Mr. Kishimoto was a tireless champion for conservation and played a key role in establishing Seacology Japan and spearheading projects in Samoa, Fiji, Japan, and other islands across the Pacific and Southeast Asia. He published several books in both Japanese and English advocating for conservation of the world’s resources.

The residents of Gana Village have completed an initial trial of growing vegetables in their new greenhouse, and the yields are good. The village will also be focusing on artisanal organic mushroom farming, and they have acquired the necessary propagation materials and equipment. In true community spirit, the local supermarket has agreed to provide a designated rack for the Gana farmers to display and sell their products.

Our partners install the new water system upstream from the village.

Villagers build a greenhouse to grow their produce.

Other recent Seacology projects that our Japanese affiliate has funded include installing a micro-hydro electricity system in Long Tanid Village, and supporting an ecotourism initiative in Tiga Bundu Village, both in Malaysia. The micro-hydro system in Long Tanid Village became self-sustaining within two years, and replaced the use of 35 diesel generators, saving about 32,500 liters of fuel per year. In 2023, a Seacology expedition visited Tiga Bundu Village, enjoying  the new multipurpose hall, campsites, mapped trails, and local food.