All the forest edge communities we work in and near along the Leuser Ecosystem experience poverty and live in very basic conditions. Most rely on oil palm or rubber for income, supplemented with subsistence farming, livestock, cash crops and other activities, some of which are harmful to wildlife. Through community engagement sessions as part of monthly patrols, our team has formed positive relationships with the communities and their leaders and where practical and possible, we provide additional support that has benefits that reach throughout the community. Examples include providing fruit trees and fencing for a school, school supplies to a school in another community after learning the locals set snares to help pay for school equipment, and predator-proof livestock corrals to reduce livestock predation. We have reconstructed a kindergarten that was flood damaged and more recently in early 2022 we constructed a community bathroom in the village of Sumber Waras, to enable kids to bath safely without fear of encountering wild elephants far from home. We provide mobile phones to growers and farmers living alongside the National Park, to try and reduce retaliatory harm to wildlife after conflict events. The phones enable locals will call our team to help mitigate human-wildlife conflict events instead of taking matters into their own hands.
We recently started a seedling program to provide fruit trees to communities asking for help to move away from oil palm, and eventually we hope to grow species that can be used for regeneration of forest in degraded areas.
Sumatran Ranger Project also supports communities through the Days for Girls program - transporting and donating (on behalf of) re-usable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls to help keep them in work and school and ensure less waste ends up in waterways. In 2019 we collaborated with MODIBODI to provide reusable period underwear to these communities, which require significantly fewer resources to make and distribute to these remote communities.
In addition we provide employment to locals, some of whom were poachers and loggers prior to becoming rangers for Sumatran Ranger Project. When working on bigger projects we offer temporary employment to locals of communities we work with. We now employ a total of 15 staff from a number of forest-edge communities.
Travel with us! In partnership with Raw Conservation Adventures we are offering small group field trips and adventures to witness and participate in Sumatran Ranger Project activities. Visit here for more information.