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Tampasak Village


Conservation benefit: Protection of 833-acre forest for 15 years

Community benefit: Gravity-fed water system

Date Approved: 02.2019


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

This is the third project in Seacology’s seven-village watershed protection project. (The first two were Mangkadait and Langkabong.) This program conserves Borneo’s spectacular rainforest by bringing clean water to remote villages. In total, it will protect more than 5,000 acres.

The island of Borneo is famous for its biodiversity. There are at least 15,000 kinds of plants; 10 primate species; and hundreds of other mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, and fish species. Scientists are discovering more all the time. But Borneo’s vibrant ecosystems are under tremendous threat, as forest is cleared for logging or oil palm plantations.

This project will protect more than 800 acres of forest near Tampasak. The village lies in a critical migratory corridor for the endangered Borneo elephant. Habitat loss is pushing the animals closer to human settlements, making them vulnerable to poaching and conflict with people. (One of Seacology’s meetings in the village was delayed because 14 elephants had gathered nearby.)

Tampasak is a remote village of 700. The villagers speak the Sungai language and follow tradition in music, dance, clothing, and farming. Women lead the community. Most people are subsistence farmers who grow hill rice and gather vegetables from the forest. Many young people have moved to towns to find work, but they maintain strong ties with the village and return after they marry.

The water supply system will greatly improve health and quality of life in Tampasak. It will especially benefit women and children, who fetch water from the Pinangah River, which is half a kilometer away and polluted by upstream oil palm plantations. By providing such an important benefit, this grant will help the people of Tampasak resist pressure to sell their rights to the forest.

Project Updates

June 2020

All the piping and solar equipment have been delivered to the village; after the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted, presumably in June, they can be connected. They hope to finish the project by August.

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December 2019

Our project partner PACOS Trust has bought all the piping and solar equipment for the project, but hasn’t yet begun installing them.

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March 2019

Seacology’s Malaysia field representative, Chris Wright, and program manager Mary Randolph visited Tampasak to meet with community members, along with Philip Chin of our nonprofit partner PACOS, who has been working with the village.
The protected watershed is just up the hill from the village–it stands out in an area where so much forest has been cut down for oil palm cultivation. The village hosted a gathering and provided a delicious lunch. Mary and project leader Simon Pongorusi planted a durian tree to mark the occasion.
The river was flooded and muddy during the visit–another reminder of why a clean water supply is so badly needed.

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