Wow! What an experience! The Tangkahan project has taken a
huge leap forward since my last trip in April; a fantastic concept is emerging
from its individual parts. It was always clear that those parts build an eco-system,
yet the resources to build an infrastructure for its management were not available
until now. During the past half year RAW Wildlife Encounters did incredible
work to bring together a fantastic team of people and I am proud to be part of
Sonya, is Australian, who has travelled the world, has a
solid background in sustainability, and is just outright a fantastic person,
who gets things done.
Emma, is British, a young and ambitious teacher who already gained
a lot of experience in East Asia. The children are taking to her like the bees
to the honey and she has fantastic ideas on how to lift the English club to the
next level of becoming a true ‘Tangkahan Education Centre’.
Then there is the group of local rangers, Ika, BimBim, Jack, Darwin, Herder and Suka, who are a driving force in all the projects, yet with a most recent
focus into organic farming. Again the local community proves their sense for conservation
and sustainability. A strip of land right at the margins of the rainforest is
to be used as organic fruit farm while doubling as a buffer zone to palm oil
And last but not least there is Jess and her RAW team, running
the eco-tourism in Tangkahan, supporting LPT and CTO in developing a wider
tourist concept for the area, and supporting CRU in creating sustainable
business solutions for the elephant camp, which is the backbone of the rainforest
conservation and the tourism.
There is still a lot of work to be done: MOUs will have to
be negotiated and signed, plans and proposals have to be finalised and tweaked
to satisfy the needs of as many stakeholders as possible, energy and Internet are
still issues which need to be tackled, and money is short at every end.
Although the aim for the future is to be self-sustained and independent from
grants and charity, those sources of funding are still heavily needed.
RAW’s business concept already includes the support of the
communities they are operating in as part of their corporate responsibility
programme – as a matter of fact this is RAW’s ethical make-up and philosophy,
and Sonya, Emma and I will mobilise our networks, pull all of our knowledge and
resources together to find funding for our respective focus points of the
Something that looked like a Herculean task back in April
appears achievable now that those fantastic people are pulling their forces
If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering your
expertise to the Tangkahan project, please post a comment on this blog.