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ASRI Expands Positive Impact on Health and Environment in Two Villages in Sintang Regency

ASRI was 'born' from the anxiety and concern of Mrs. Kinari, the founder of ASRI, while conducting research at the Panti Branch research station in 1993. There, she felt sad because she witnessed a man being forced to cut down 60 trees to pay for his mother's caesarean section. Long story short, after completing medical education in America, Mrs. Kinari returned to Sukadana, West Kalimantan, with the aim of contributing to protecting Kalimantan's forests. Then the ASRI team designed its programs based on the ideas and thoughts of the people living around the forest. Mrs. Kinari realizes that those who live in the area better understand solutions that can help achieve a healthy, prosperous society and sustainable nature. These community aspirations were gathered through the Radical Listening discussion method, which has been one of ASRI's practices since its inception.


After sixteen years of work in supporting forest conservation and public health in Sukadana, ASRI is now trying to expand the impact of its programs to other regions in Indonesia in order to realize ASRI's vision. With enthusiasm, ASRI started this adventure by visiting Rantau Malam Village and Jelundung Village located in Sintang Regency, West Kalimantan in June 2023. The choice of these two villages was not coincidental, but was based on their vital role in preserving the National Park forest. Bukit Baka Bukit Raya (TNBBBR).


Radical Listening bersama masyarakat penjaga hutan di Desa Jelundung, Sintang, Kalbar


“If the world community wants to thank you because you protect the forest, what form of thanks do you need?”


The ASRI team asked this question to the people of Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village while conducting radical listening. This discussion was attended by 30 community representatives, including Village Heads, Hamlet Heads, Traditional Heads, Representatives of Religious Leaders, Local Youth, and representatives of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Development Group, and many more.


From the results of the radical listening discussion, it was discovered that the needs of the people in Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village were quite similar. The majority of people in both villages need support in the health sector, such as nutritional assistance, maternal and child health programs, and assistance in building toilets at home. The community also said that the education and health costs required to travel from their village to Serawai District were quite large, namely around 300 thousand rupiah round trip. Apart from that, they have to travel quite a long way, around two hours by speedboat or four hours by klotok boat. Based on this problem, the people of Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village expressed that support in the form of empowerment through sustainable alternative livelihoods, such as cake making training, kelulut honey cultivation, agriculture and plantations, would really help increase their income. Both villages also expressed concerns regarding education, as conveyed by Mr Mingguk as the School Principal in Jelundung Village. He is worried about what the natural 'heritage' they are now looking after will be like in the hands of the younger generation in the future, if they are not taught about the environment from an early age. "I hope ASRI can organize educational programs for children here because I am worried whether this young generation will continue to protect our forests like we, the old people, are doing now," said Pak Mingguk to the ASRI and TNBBBR teams who were visited his house to see his fish farming business. The two villages also provided other input, such as coaching support from TNBBBR in Jelundung Village and road infrastructure assistance in Rantau Malam Village.


Pak Mingguk, usaha budidaya ikan di desa jelundung, sintang, kalbar


All ideas from the community are collected by ASRI together with the results of the Household survey conducted, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the community's needs and expectations. With this holistic approach, ASRI can design programs that are responsive and have a positive impact on Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village. After holding a second discussion and radical listening in the context of a cross-check on 6-7 July 2023, ASRI, together with its main partners, the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Office and the local Health Service, agreed to collaborate with Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village for a year.


Radical Listening kedua oleh ASRI di Desa Rantau Malam, Sintang, Kalbar


"The one year program or activity that will be carried out by ASRI, TNBBBR, and the people of Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village includes mobile clinic treatment every two or three months, distribution of drinking water filters, inventory of traditional medicines, Environmental Health Education, and coaching sustainable agriculture," said Juanisa Andiani, ASRI Program Director, while leading the second radical listening discussion in Jelundung Village and Rantau Malam Village.

All the successes and achievements that ASRI has achieved in Sukadana and in Sintang cannot be separated from the support of the government, the Gunung Palung National Park Office and the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Office, as well as the local community and the world community. We express our gratitude for the trust and support that continues to be given to ASRI to provide benefits and help create a healthy, prosperous society and protect sustainable nature.