In the Kenyah language, Mudung Abun means “Cloud Mountain.” It’s a good description of the village’s location–a remote mountainous region in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. Most of the 300 members of the community are farmers.
Two nonprofit organizations, the Institut Pribumi Malaysia Sarawak, and Partners of Community Organizations (PACOS Trust), will be building a 50-kilowatt micro-hydro energy system there. The project will promote renewable energy and enhance watershed conservation. Unlike big dams, small-scale hydro projects take advantage of steep drops in small streams and don’t harm the environment. The electricity will light 22 homes, community verandas, a women’s cooperative shop, food processing center, blacksmithing and welding workshop, and a community hall. It will replace eight diesel-powered generators and three rice-milling machines. As a result, it will eliminate the pollution caused by burning at least 211 gallons of diesel per month.
Seacology will fund installation of the micro-hydro system. The Seacology grant is in support of a 1,236-acre watershed area, which the community is protecting from shifting cultivation, logging, road construction, and other disturbances.