BEST Society, which stands for Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies, supports rural communities in Malaysia’s Sabah establish and improve their own social enterprises, improving their quality of life through business. Moving away from charity, now the NGO focuses on capacity building in social entrepreneurship, and is increasing access to markets for cottage industry artisans.
Here’s a snapshot of some of their key achievements, and reasons why Wild Asia has identified them as one of our 2014 Finalists in the category Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative…
- BEST was founded by Borneo Eco Tours, and Sukau Rainforest Lodge, as an organisation to provide welfare to communities to develop social entrepreneurship.
- The objectives are promote responsible tourism, generate secondary incomes through nature tourism, education, test sustainable technologies in local setting, provide capacity building, develop code of practice for ecolodges in Sabah, multi-stakeholder dialogue and management.
- As well as tree planting, health and dental camps, clean water projects and more, BEST has also delivered training to establish longhouse properties, organic farming techniques, and responsible tourism.
- Liaise with community leaders and committees about setting up projects to respond to their needs.
- Adopted 65 acres of riverine landscape and reforested the land, preventing soil erosion into the river and maintaining wildlife habitats.
- Organised free medical camps and issued water tanks benefiting 56 families.
- Around 50% of BEST activities are funded through private donations or grant funding, and the rest is generated through a sustainable financial structure via contributions from every guest at Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
For more information about the BEST Society, please visit their website.