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Ensem Village


Conservation benefit: Support of a 60,958-acre rainforest reserve for 20 years

Community benefit: Medical clinic

Date Approved: 01.2007


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Ensem Village, in the Talaud archipelago of eastern Indonesia, has been settled since the early days of the spice trade nearly 600 years ago. Spices still play a important role in the livelihood of the village’s 609 residents. They follow the centuries-old tradition of harvesting nutmeg and cloves as well as coconuts and other cash crops.

The village borders the northern section of a 60,958-acre rainforest reserve on the island of Karakelang. Because the rainforest reserve has exceptional biological significance, Birdlife Indonesia has been working with Ensem Village since 2003 to preserve it.

Ensem has committed to preserve its rainforest for at least 20 years. In return, Seacology is funding construction of a badly needed medical clinic.

Project Updates

January 2009

As of November 2008, the health clinic continued to be used and maintained well by women of the Family Health group in Ensem Village with limited government support. The village is trying to get the local government health office to provide a full-time doctor and medicine at the site. The conservation area remains protected, and the Ensem Environmental Group monitors the forest regularly. Their report of erosion earlier in the year resulted in a community effort to plant 5,000 tree seedlings and bring two people to justice for illegally cutting trees in the protected area.

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January 2008

The building has been completed, and an opening ceremony was held in December 2007. The building has two inpatient rooms, a medical supply room, exam room, admin room, emergency room, waiting room, guest room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. The building was under budget, so they used the extra funds to build a fence, a storm drain, and the kitchen, and to purchase mattresses, pillows, linens, curtains, and a flagstaff and flag. The organization running the project, BirdLife Indonesia, is moving out of the area and focusing on North Sulawesi in early 2008, but will arrange for a local leader to keep in contact with Seacology Field Representative Arnaz Mehta to provide updates.

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November 2007

As of October 2007 the building was 75% complete with plans for November and December to complete fencing, a storm drain, a kitchen space and to install electricity. The village is currently working with the department of health to ask that a health worker stay in the village. Both Ensem and Niampak villagers are working with the forestry department on a national forest rehabilitation project as well as with a conservation group to develop a long term plan with the local government for future growth and management of the protected areas and the communities’ needs for economic well-being.

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August 2007

The foundation and walls were built, door and windows were framed, and a water well was constructed. Plans for August and September include finishing the roof, ceiling, doors, windows, tiling, plastering, painting and installing water and electricity. The project leaders note that the protected area is already being monitored and patrolled by villagers and people have planted saplings within the boundaries of their own properties in anticipation of needing wood in the future from someplace other than the protected area.

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June 2007

Plans for May through August 2007 include preparing the site, purchasing and transporting materials, and starting the construction of the medical clinic. The building is scheduled to be completed by late 2007.

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