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New Year, New Clean Gravity Water Supply For 1045 Rural Sabahans

Hopes Malaysia and Heineken Cares Sustainably Bring Clean Water Supply to Families in Remote Kota Belud.
villagers pulling pipes together

Water insecurity - or the lack of access to clean water - is a major, widespread problem affecting Sabah’s vulnerable rural community. Families living in Sabah’s disconnected and scattered interior villages are often in deep poverty and barely surviving. Worsening their livelihoods, most are not connected to the government’s water supply, forcing villagers to struggle just to get the basic life need of water each day. Water is the source of all life, so how can Sabah’s over 41,000 hardcore poor progress if they do not even have enough water to drink, cook, clean and farm for their food at home?

villager at water catchment

Life had been a challenge for the 1045 rural villagers of Kampung Pinolobuh, Kota Belud as clean water was always a necessity that each family had to ration and fight over. The secluded community made up of B40 households is detached from the public water system and solely relies on a natural water source deep in the jungle, 5 km away for their daily needs.

bursting pipe

Relying on a leaking and unsustainable gravity water system built in 2002, most families were unable to have a proper water supply by afternoon as broken PVC piping would cause low, unusable water levels in the village’s main tank. Dry taps at home and on their farms meant that mothers, farmers and children were being left behind in life without this basic human right classified by the United Nations.

“Our population is increasing because people returned to the village after Covid-19. This and more leaking and breaking pipes only worsened the water problem for all of us,” says village representative Encik Jalni. "It is difficult for families to use water each day."

For the second year with Heineken Cares, local Sabah Civil Society organisation (CSO) Hopes Malaysia is sustainably empowering Sabah’s rural community in fulfilling their basic needs for a brighter future. The Heineken Cares 2022 Programme sees its employees stepping up to achieve 200 million steps by March 2023. This supports the vulnerable rural families towards lasting food security via an improved gravity water system.

From September to December 2022, 40 volunteers from Kampung Pinolobuh united to improve the well-being of their community. The villagers were empowered with the skills, knowledge and durable gravity water system materials, such as poly pipes, to reconstruct their village asset. The volunteers trekked through thick jungles and up the steep foothills of Mt. Kinabalu to lay and connect the piping from the 5km-away water source to the village centre. “The hot sun and strong rains made progress very difficult, but I am proud that we managed to complete the system before the situation got worse," explains volunteer Encik Daimin on their success.

Families were able to enjoy a consistent clean water supply ushering in the new year for the first time. "The tank actually overflows now, and my children and I don't have to worry about the water suddenly running out at our farm or home," gratefully expresses local mother Puan Kindamo.

Going forward, the collaboration is further empowering the village families through sustainable small-scale farming, utilizing the consistent gravity water system for improving both their food security and livelihoods. Speaking of the impact sustainable farming has brought to Sabah's rural community in 2022, Hopes Malaysia Founder Sam Lee says "Families attend our farming workshops and learn proper, sustainable farming techniques that bring long-term results. They are also given the materials and support needed to start farming for nutritious food. These workshops have already changed the lives of over 300 families in 15 rural communities."

group pic of hopes malaysia team and villagers at fish pond

Aligned with the United Nations' SDGs in this Decade of Action, Hopes Malaysia aims to equip more rural Sabah families with clean water to sustainably farm for their own food this 2023. With countless families still in need of a sustainable solution to end hunger and poverty, we are constantly looking for CSR Sponsorships to collaborate and expand our impact . Kindly click the button below and fill in the form if you are keen to explore CSR opportunities with us to sustainably help rural families in Sabah.

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