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Programme brings hope to KB villagers
Published on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021
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Programme brings hope to KB villagers
Hopes Malaysia founder Sam Lee (fourth from left), facilitators and villagers during a farming workshop at Kampung Bokilong.
Kota Kinabalu: Efandi Eldy Lim used to worry about putting food on the table for his wife and five children.

The 37-year-old did his best to provide for his poor family through jobs such as repairing and building village homes, besides a little farming, in Kampung Bokilong, Kota Belud, at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu in the Kadamaian constituency.

But these days he does not worry so much, thanks to a sustainable community development programme initiated by Hopes Malaysia, an NGO that has been helping four villages in the Kadamaian area, including Efandi’s, since 2016.

The others are Kampung Kaung Ulu, Kampung Podos and Kampung Tudan.

Hoping to break the cycle of poverty in these villages, the organisation helped build a mega-scale gravity water project in 2019 that supplies clean water to more than 3,000 residents in these villages.

The villagers are now making use of the reliable water supply for crop farming and poultry and freshwater fish rearing. This translates into more income opportunities for the villagers.

Besides this, Hopes Malaysia started a sustainable livelihood project last year to improve agricultural activities, food security and the socio-economic wellbeing of the villagers.

Efandi said the difference in the villagers’ lives before and after the NGO initiated the programme could be clearly seen.

“I used to be really concerned about how to earn an income but not anymore,” he told FMT.

“Our lives and that of others in the village are much better. We don’t have to be worried sick looking for food to put into our pots every day. We don’t have to spend the little money we have on food because we are growing our own, more than enough for us to eat and sell to whoever wants them.”

Efandi is planting crops and rearing freshwater fish, all in his own backyard. He grows eggplants, white pepper, long beans and luffa (petola), among others, besides rearing tilapias.

He said before the Hopes Malaysia programme, the farming activities in his village were much less coordinated.

“For instance, everyone was using their own farming techniques not knowing if they would work and never caring much about what others were planting.

“As a result, there was an over-abundance of certain types of vegetables. People want a variety of produce and in the end, many of the vegetables go to waste. But now it is a community effort, everyone will know what the other is doing and plant only certain kinds of greens,” he said.

Efandi said Hopes Malaysia organised workshops and brought in agriculture experts from universities to teach farming secrets and increase productivity, besides providing raw material like seedlings and fertiliser in the early phases.

“And to help with the current movement control order (MCO), the NGO set up the Tamu Kita online store (on Facebook), which is a platform to market and sell fresh village fruits and vegetables to consumers, particularly in Kota Kinabalu.

“We do not need to depend solely on the tamu held only on weekends in (Kota Belud) town because the orders come to us through this online medium.”

He said the villagers would harvest their produce on Fridays, according to the bookings made, to avoid wastage, and take the items to a transporter who would take them to the state capital.

Among their clientele are hotels and supermarkets.

“The weekly sales are good and reach between RM300 and RM400 at times. This is the income from the Tamu Kita only, not counting the orders from others, including nearby villages,” he said.

Hopes Malaysia founder Sam Lee said as of December last year, the Tamu Kita weekly deliveries had managed to generate some RM48,000 in direct payout to the farmers, benefiting 62 families in the villages.

This year, Lee said, the NGO planned to expand its social impact to better assist the underprivileged in the long-term through various programmes. 


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