Pak Roji at the market
He works on the Education Team for our Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership, as our Community Liaison. Pak Roji’s passionate about all things mouldy, and organic!
He’s our compost expert, with a background in chemistry, and at least a decade of farming experience in Java. He currently works with the farmers collectives in four villages by the Western boundary of the Lamandau Reserve, to help improve their crops by applying compost. Earlier in the week I visited Pak Roji in Sukamara, with the Head of our Education Team, Eddie, and our Liaison Officer, Astri, to meet up with local government officials to discuss about our plans to commence a compost project in the town.
Eddie rescues some seedlings that would have been burnt along with the garbage, to be planted at our office in Sukamara.
You may wonder how compost ties into orangutan conservation – and I’d say that wildlife conservation overall is holistic: assisting local communities to find alternative sustainable livelihoods that are still culturally relevant, is vital in obtaining their continuing support for the Reserve. The sandy soils that these farmers work on are nutritionally-poor, and organic composts help increase the yield of crops, while decreasing pressure on the local dump-site. Working one on one with farmers at the Western boundary of the Reserve have yielded small successes, and we hope to see this grow.
So far, the response has been encouraging, and we have received a lot of comments and advice from respective government officers from various fields. Our hopes for this project is that it is community-driven, with farmers benefitting from the harvest.
Eddie, our Education Team Leader, discusses land options with the Village Head of Natai Sedawak, Pak Nadi
We also met up with the village head from Natai Sedawak, to discuss possibilities on where the compost project could take place. He took us to various sites, including the local garbage dump that reminded us why this project is crucial!
Astri, our Liaison Officer, demonstrates the height of the garbage pile
I believe everybody in his or her lifetime, needs to visit their local dumpsite and understand how our daily consumption affects the rest of the community, and the world.
Pak Roji hard at work!
I’ll keep you in touch on how this project develops over time, but rest assured, Pak Roji continues to churn the soil to keep all organic waste wonderful and mouldy!