Regional Relationship-Building in Borneo

Health In Harmony’s (HIH) next phase is to expand the conservation and human health reach by replicating the model. Behind the scenes, HIH staff -- with input from our partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and the HIH Board of Directors -- have been busy looking into possibilities and thinking about ways to effectively improve lives, reducing the pressure on protected areas and successfully conserve precious ecosystems. As that work continues, we wanted to take a moment to share with you one of the opportunities we are pursuing. But first, let’s talk about methodology.

One method of replication we’ve chosen to focus on is the ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. Think for a second about a bicycle wheel. You have the hub or center of activity that connects everything, and then you have the spokes that branch out from that hub creating a wheel and in effect, extend the reach of that hub. By envisioning ASRI, our pilot project partner, as the Hub of Wheel One, where investments in infrastructure, staff and time have already been allocated, we are now looking to develop spokes of the wheel and thus extend the reach of ASRI’s health and conservation programs regionally.

The spokes, for example, can be smaller scale programs, partnerships with other organizations, educational opportunities and much more. That, my friends, is what we are envisioning as the ‘Hub and Spoke Model’ of replication.  For those already asking; Yes, we are planning on creating more than one Wheel. That is the next phase. First, we are developing the spokes of the ASRI hub, which I am excited to tell you more about today.

The first Spoke of ASRI that we are investing in is a collaboration with International Animal Rescue’s Indonesian affiliate program, Yayasan IAR Indonesia (YIARI). YIARI has established an orangutan rehabilitation center about 1.5 hours south of ASRI’s headquarters in Sukadana. The need for this rehab center arose from the increasing incidence of these animals being stuck with nowhere to go as their habitat disappeared as a result of a number of factors, including development of plantations, primarily oil palm. Further pressure on habitat comes from the increasing incidence of fire in lowland rain forest in the region and as locals realized cute baby orangutan pets (which is illegal, by the way) grow to become large, strong, and unpredictable.

Through a concerted effort, YIARI found an acceptable rain forest location to relocate the rehabilitated and often still wild animals. Finding these sites is an arduous process and the new area must meet a number of criteria to be determined appropriate for the release of orangutans back into the wild. Still within West Kalimantan – the same province both the YIARI program office and the ASRI headquarters are located – the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BBBR) release site borders community villages.

YIARI has begun programs on-site, and in building community relationships, identified a role that HIH and ASRI may be able to play in helping improve both human and environmental health. In October 2016, HIH sent a scouting team to the area and with the help of YIARI field staff conducted Radical Listening meetings in 7 sub-villages. It became clear that health related programs are a need and valued by the communities. The result – we are moving forward with a partnership.

This summer, HIH and YIARI staff will work together to design and implement a baseline survey and community listening process to identify what communities in the area are most interested in, and in need of, to drive program design, while also establishing metrics that can be used over time for monitoring and evaluation.

Stay tuned to hear more about where we are thinking of establishing the next ‘Wheel’ of programs as replication efforts continue.

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About Kari Malen | View all posts by Kari Malen

Kari is the International Program Development Director at Health In Harmony, and is based in Taos, NM.