Tobpinai Ningkokoton Kobuburuon Kampung
Sabah-based Friends of Village Development or Tobpinai Ningkokoton Kobuburuon Kampung brings cost-effective resource management solutions to under-served rural indigenous communities in the Malaysian states. TONIBUNG was originally founded in 1991 to train relocated indigenous peoples struggling to adapt to unfamiliar agricultural circumstances. For the past 10 years, TONIBUNG has turned their attention towards rural electrification, focusing predominantly on micro-hydroelectric systems. TONIBUNG is currently seeking to build their capacity by empowering rural indigenous technicians, enabling them to design and implement renewable resource management schemes of their own.
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Though TONIBUNG’s work is built around renewable resource technologies and systems, at its core it is an organization that serves the kampung, or rural village communities. The village residents’ sense of ownership over their system is ensured through careful research of village customs, the establishment of communal funds, democratically elected committees, and the practice of gotong royong (shared labor). To date, the community-based component of each micro-hydro installation has been met with resounding success, and is a testament to the hard-work, knowledge, and community-organizing skills accumulated by the collective project teams. TONIBUNG works closely with community organizers that serve the kampungs in Sabah, ensuring that women and children also receive due consideration when developing their resource management schemes.
TONIBUNG works with community farmers and craftsmen to assess needs in developing productive uses for renewable energy, paying particular attention to the following:
a. Developing small scale, energy-efficient tools that bring added value to locally sourced non-timber forest products, for example: rice mills, table saws, coffee depulpers, juicers, and similar processing equipment.
b. Connecting community cooperatives with fair trade business.
c. Identifying training that is needed for the communities to effectively harness the renewable energy to power income generating conservation based enterprises, and the skills necessary to handle logistics, sales, marketing, storage, communications, and accounting.
TONIBUNG chooses renewable technologies that harness, but also promote the conservation of natural resources. A healthy watershed is critical to the durability of a micro-hydro system. Watershed protection plans are integrated into every TONIBUNG micro-hydro project.