Communities’ Response to COVID19 through Strengthening Resilience in Indigenous Knowledge and Building Alternative Livelihood.
Communities’ Response to COVID19 through Strengthening Resilience in Indigenous Knowledge and Building Alternative Livelihood.
Indigenous knowledge on utilizing the rich biodiversity of the environment has sustained Kadazandusun communities in the Upper Moyog River and the Upper Papar River for generations. These two areas are very important as the rivers that flow through the villages in the project area supply clean water to the city of Kota Kinabalu and other nearby towns. However, due to modernization this knowledge is fast disappearing as not much effort has been put into documention and passing the knowledge down to the younger generation especially children. Communities are also becoming more disconnected with the environment therefore indigenous knowledge and stories related to the environment are also seen as outdated. This project will compile indigenous knowledge and stories related to the sustainable use of the forest and natural resources. After compilation, the project will then turn these into learning materials for children that can be used in the community learning centres (CLC), primary schools or at home so that the knowledge will be passed down to the next generation and not lost. The project will also encourage the families from the project area to participate in the “One Million Trees Seedlings Campaign” so that they can rejuvenate areas that are degraded such as water catchment, riverine reserve and farmland in their respective villages. Besides planting seedlings for conservation and for their farmland, the communities in the project area will also plant fruit seedlings that can be sold by Sinaran in their online community market. The “One Million Trees Seedlings Campaign” was pledged by the federal government to assist Sabah in its reforestation efforts by planting one million forest trees in the next 10 years. The project will also implement a COVID19 Pandemic Response to assist indigenous communities that are affected by the movement control order imposed by the government to curb the virus from spreading.

To address the issue on the loss of indigenous knowledge, generation gap, the lack of learning materials and access, the project planned to do the following activities:
i) The 7 CLC (community learning centres) will compile traditional practices on forest management and other everyday life stories related to the environment.
The CLCs have been collecting children’s materials in the mother tongue. In this project traditional practices on forest management and other everyday life stories related to the environment will be compiled and produced as teaching-learning materials for children so that this kind of knowledge will be passed down to the younger generations. Starting with young children to teach the value of the environment is very important.
ii) 2 Ethnoarts production workshops to produce learning materials for children in the form of simple animation, posters and story books
Through funding from UNICEF, the staff of Sinaran has been trained to produce children learning materials using ethnoarts approach. Ethnoarts will bring out the traditional values and cultures in the materials so that it will not be lost during the production process.
iii) Community workshops to verify the draft-produced materials
After the learning materials are produced it is important to bring the materials back to the community in order to verify all the information. This is to ensure community ownership and to make corrections of information that is not right.
iv) Trial use of teaching- learning materials in the CLC and primary school in the project area.
Before the teaching-learning materials go to the print and distributed to others, there will be a trial use of the materials to get feedback and make final improvement. For this activity Sinaran will work with the CLC and the primary school in the project area to test the learning materials.

To enhance the communities’ awareness on the symbiotic relationship with their habitat, the importance of trees and plants for the health of the environment and overcome interdependence relationship gap; we need to create activities that give opportunity for families to contribute towards rejuvenation of degraded areas in their own village and territories. The “One Million Trees Seedlngs Campaign” is an opportunity that the project can ride on and contribute towards achieving SDG goal 15 – Life on Land and also SGP OP6 Strategic Initiative – Community Biodiversity Conservation. The following planned activities are to address this issue:
i) Carry out a Baseline Survey to gauge interested families who want to participate in the campaign and commit to start indigenous seedlings nursery at their backyard
This survey is an entry point to start a conversation on the issue with the communities in the project area. With the result of the survey, Sinaran will be able to gauge interest and document feedbacks/ideas on the campaign and the project.
ii) 2 Community workshops on nursery management
This activity is a contribution of the project towards capacity building of the community and to ensure the sustainability of the project long after the project funding ends. The knowledge gained from the project can continue to be used by the community. Besides planting indigenous seedlings to rejuvenate their degraded areas, families who participate in this activity will also plant fruit seedlings such as jack fruit; durian belanda, avocadoes, mangosteen, lemon and decorative plants that can be sold by the community that can bring extra income to the participating families.
iii) Monthly monitoring and reporting
Monitoring and support is an important component to ensure that the project activities are on target. Sinaran project team can provide support the CLC to monitor the backyard trees nursery. The monthly monitoring is also to address any issues on the ground during the project implementation.
iv) Gotong royong to plant seedlings
This community activity is to do enrichment planting of water catchment, riverine reserves and farmland in the project area.

As part of the COVID19 Pandemic Response - the proposed project will also address the economic crisis faced by indigenous communities in the project area focusing on income generation activities based on sustainable use of natural resources for food production. The following are the planned activities for this response:
i) Rapid appraisal on the economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic and product listing of eco-friendly food production as well as gauge any gaps related to marketing their produce.
Sinaran will start with a rapid appraisal to gauge the impact of the COVID19 pandemic in the project area. Besides this, the appraisal will also find out if previous trainings on agroecology methodologies provided by PACOS to these villages are still being practised, list down farm produce that can be included in the online community market or other marketing platform; and identifying challenges and gaps related marketing their produce during this “new norm” as a result of COVID19 pandemic.
ii) Listing of products from each community and address gaps and challenges related to marketing, produce operation flowchart and setting up of collection centre
Once the rapid appraisal is completed, the Sinaran project team can come with a product catalogue and have a clear operation flowchart as a collection centre to grade, pack, and advertise produce from the community. It is from the collection centre that community’s produce will be delivered to customers.
iii) Connecting and selling through existing KNF & PACOS Community market and other marketing platform
Sinaran will work closely with PACOS and KNF who had earlier launched an online marketing platform to support communities market their produce. Sinaran will start with the 3 CLCs (Kipouvo, Kibunut, Togudon) from the Upper Moyog River, as the other CLCs (Tiku, Buayan, Terian) from the Upper Papar River are more remote. The more remote communities will focus on produce that is more hardy like tumeric and ginger or proceesed goods like dried chillies.

Project Snapshot

Sinaran Ria
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 10,750.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 10,075.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Ms Rufina Koyou


P. O. Box 511, 89507 Penampang, Sabah Malaysia
Penampang , 89507

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Shin Shin, Lee
603-8689 6055
Ms. Nurul Fitrah Mohd Ariffin Marican


Level 10, Menara PJH, No.2, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Precinct 2,
Putrajaya, 62100

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