New opportunities for employment close to home
Beyond farming and rubber tapping, there was little means of generating income in Kipouvo, a rural village in Borneo. This forced many residents to migrate to the nearest city to find work, which further jeopardized the area’s development and stability. The University of Malaysia Sabah Enactus team saw the only way to save the village was to create jobs closer to home.
The team partnered with an international trust to develop a five-room homestay in the village. The goal was to provide the community with a source of revenue from tourists to spawn related jobs such as jungle guides, cooks and housekeepers. It would also give the locals a chance to showcase and promote their unique cultural heritage. To further increase opportunities, the team worked with area farm families to grow chemical-free fruits and vegetables to sell in the community and to visitors. Lastly, they taught several women in the village to make handicrafts to market to tourists. These combined efforts created more than 30 new jobs.
To date more than 100 people from around the world have visited the Kipouvo Homestay. “Voluntourists” have built a new bridge, painted murals for the local kindergarten and conducted English lessons for children and adults in Kipouvo. Even more importantly, the project has established a sustainable cash flow for this once-struggling village community. Specifically, incomes have increased from RM 222 to approximately RM 2,824, many families now have structured savings accounts and it is no longer a necessity for these villagers to seek opportunities away from home.