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ASRI's programs have always been designed and implemented by the people living in the villages around Gunung Palung National Park. Thirty of the 32 villages surrounding the park have signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with us, agreeing to work together to reduce illegal logging. This month, we received word from our program partner, ASRI, that one of those two remaining villages also agreed to an MOU! That means there is only one remaining village that has not signed. After signing villages get discounts in the clinic even if they don't managed to stop the logging (but more if they do!). We are celebrating one more village having access to affordable healthcare and protecting precious habitat!
Hotlin writes about having the head of Matan village sign:
Erica, pak Miftah, Hen and I were having a great time with him. He kept praising ASRI for what we have been doing with the community. He told us also many stories that he is so proud of ASRI. He shared with us his experience when he attended a meeting with all the heads of villages of Kayung Utara with the head of the regency. He said in the meeting, most all the heads of villages mentioned ASRI in discussing providing heath care because of the government health care has not been running efficiently. Beside that he also mentioned that he already asks his community not to do slash and burning agriculture in the park and is really hoping that we can start teaching them the more sustainable practice of farming. He has been actively asking his community to not log in the park.
He was so touched by the willingness of people from America to help people around the park to care for the forest that will benefit them as well. He understand is not easy to travel all the way from America, spend a lot of money, and it will not make sense if the local people do not give support. He and the community in Matan were very sorry for the response of the previous village head. The most exciting part he told us that he and the community has a signed a piece of land that they would like to build a simple post base for ASRI activities and of course he also said the ASRI staff are very welcome in his house. And today we will start putting Matan on our incentive system in the clinic. We are working on planning mobile visits, livelihoods activities, monitoring and planning to recruit 2 forest guardians.
His visit yesterday really made our day :-)
People like you, who care about conserving the rainforest, make it possible to give healthcare discounts to those on the front lines of protecting it by donating to Health In Harmony.
If you would like to meet the people from villages like Matan that work with ASRI, come with us to Sukadana in March.