We would firstly like to say a huge thank you to all of our hardworking and passionate volunteers and interns from 2019 – whom without you we could never operate. Also to all our group participants from American Express Malaysia, Do Something Good, Uplands International School, Outlook Expeditions, World Challenge, World Volunteer, Ecoventure, Fulbright, ISKL, Gems International – KL & Penang, APIS, Sunway International School, DSKL, Tenby International School, Nexus International, Mutiara International School, Durham University, Portsmouth University, University of Arizona and our agents for our volunteers – The Great Projects, Amanzi, STA, GoEco, Adventure Heart, Atlantis, Animal Jobs Direct, Frontier, Eco Companion and Roots and Shoots Malaysia, without all of you, we could not do what we do! A HUGE THANK YOU!!
The FE family and our impact has grown in 2019, please see our impact video. 2019 has been the best yet but we still have a lot to improve. We would like to especially highlight that our team has educated over 213 challengers about Responsible Travel and Tourism in partnership with Ayana Journeys and World Challenge who have collectively educated more than 5,000 challengers up until Dec 14th 2019. That is a great feat and well done to everyone involved.
We have achieved many things in 2019 from our first education focused artificial reef in the Perhentian Islands – thanks to American Express, Malaysia and partners for helping build and fund the reef blocks. We are so happy with, which this reef has facilitated, the change in mentally at the Perhentians from our team which involves allowing the Perhentian kids to lead research and conservation actions such as daily kayak patrols and fish surveys on the artificial reef. These students from Perhentian have also been given scuba diving lessons thanks to our amazing partners in the Perhentians. It’s not just about telling the children, but it’s also about involving the children in the efforts that has stood out, we have now built a young Perhentian conservationist army! Our groups who visit Perhentian are now taught by the Perhentian children about THEIR island rather outside people teaching them. That mental change is something we really love and utterly support!
Another milestone we are proud of is supporting our Merapoh Project to become its own independent NGO, the Malayan Rainforest Station (MRS). MRS is now officially registered in the last quarter of 2019 and is working closely with several local universities including Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Malaya (UM), while expanding its horizon towards collaborating with international research institutes such as Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) from the University of Kent. The future of MRS, under the board of committee’s guidance and expertise, is exciting and will focus more on the aspect of biological research including Mainland Clouded Leopards, Hornbills and conservation patrols, primarily in the Merapoh area.
Elly is the new community leader for MRS and is starting to make a good impact with the Malay community around Merapoh including collaborating with the Women’s Institution of Merapoh and Precious Plastics whilst continuing our work with the Indigenous Bateq people. We hope to host more research and university groups in future at Merapoh for the benefit of conservation at large.
We are also really proud of our partner in Java, WRC Jogja, where collectively, with special thanks to ISKL and various volunteers who fundraised to build the enclosure, we have finally completed the sun bear enclosure for Bedhu and Tegan. They are now being introduced to one another so they can live in the same enclosure together. The direction of the centre is now really focused on rebuilding the enclosures which is fantastic and means our groups and volunteers can help in these major redevelopments. This is conservation on the front line and we are SOOO happy to move forward together with the committee to help build new enclosures and renovate older ones.
To be honest, we are so very excited for 2020, and beyond, which we predict will have an even bigger impact than 2019. Apart from the projects developing and improving we also have a new and improved Environmental Policy which will be implemented in January 2020 which involves the reduction of Fuze Ecoteer’s carbon footprint as an entire entity. The impact of this is that we will strive to reduce consumption of resources at all levels and manage whatever waste we create properly. Each of our project bases will be aiming to become zero waste and sourcing our produce locally, as reducing the amount of carbon we create is a priority.
In 2020 our volunteering and operations will aim to become carbon positive including flight emissions from volunteer travels to Malaysia and Indonesia.
For our groups in 2020 we aim to measure and reduce consumption and by 2021 become carbon neutral for group related in-country operations by 2021. Flight emissions for groups are in discussion with our relevant parties.
We are also very excited to be joining the social enterprise movement in Malaysia which has started to gain momentum. We truly believe that social enterprises are the way forward for realigning the world and most importantly we will be trying to inspire more and more people to reduce their carbon footprint.
Finally, we have decided to merge Ecoteer into Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures.
Fuze Ecoteer will maintain the great service that Ecoteer did for our volunteers (if not greater) and the aim is still to help individuals join in with conservation actions. However in 2020 our focus is to better assist those who want a career in conservation and ecotourism by providing not just volunteering and internship opportunities but by working in collaboration with Conservation Careers. With them, we will provide a jobs board for conservation and ecotourism in Asia.
Thank you so much for supporting our cause and we look forward to working more on Connecting more People with Nature with a reduced carbon footprint in 2020 and beyond. If we don’t do it now, then when?
Pav and Dan