The adjoining villages of Bario Asal and Arur Layun are located in the Bario Highlands plane of Sarawak, in the heart of Borneo. The indigenous Kelabit people are mainly wet rice paddy farmers; to irrigate their fields, they take water from small streams that run close to their longhouses. There are few signs of modern development. Electricity comes from private or village-owned diesel generators.
The two communities requested funding for a micro-hydro system that will provide up to 40 kilowatts of renewable electricity. Micro-hydro energy systems harness energy by using the vertical drop of a small stream. This system will power lights for 50 households, a primary school, secondary school, church, community hall, sundry shops, agro-processing mill, and welding and planning workshops. PACOS Trust will provide training in micro-hydro design, installation, management and maintenance, as well as socioeconomic development training. Through PACOS Trust and the Borneo Project, Seacology has previously funded two micro-hydro systems in Borneo (Long Lawen and Terian).
In return, the communities will establish a 1,483-acre rainforest preserve. They will plant 1,000 fruit and timber tree seedlings in deforested areas within the watershed and along the riverbanks. Their goal is to return the watershed to its original state.