Happy New Year Global Giving Supporters! All of us here at Health In Harmony hope that your holidays were warm and rejuvenating and your 2014 is full of promise and big dreams.
We last wrote to you about the devastating fire at the Laman Satong reforestation site. We wrote that hope burned brighter than the fire, and the months since have proved that to be more than true thanks to you, our loving community. The outpouring of support was encouraging to our team on both sides of the world, and ASRI reforested Laman Satong in November. There was much more regrowth than initially suspected, more than 50 community members came out to work and the National Park office contributed many of their own seedlings - all factors adding to a successful replanting. See attached pictures.
The best news for the forest, however, is that logging continues to decrease more and more! The second worst village for logging when ASRI started just signed a memorandum of understanding with us in November, pledging to work with ASRI to reduce illegal logging in exchange for discounts at the clinic (which increase if they go green and eradicate logging). This village was one of two that had not signed an MOU, but one month later, they had almost completely ended logging! And the worst village when we started, which had 26 chainsaw crews in 2007, went green in December! This is truly incredible news. We had so much to be grateful for at the end of 2013. Top of the list was you, our donors. Your gifts provided the seedlings replanted at Laman Satong, the clinic discounts that incentivize an end to illegal logging, the organic farm training turning loggers into farmers and so many more programs in Indonesia. In short, none of these amazing gains in rainforest protection would have happened without you!
A quick domestic update, as well: in November, we had our annual board meeting in November and mapped future directions for Health In Harmony as well as celebrated successes. Our wonderful founder, Dr. Kinari Webb, has been in the United States for the first time in two years, visiting friends, family and supporters up and down both coasts and fundraising like a champion for upcoming projects at ASRI. Please email me at email@example.com for times and places of events in the next two weeks in New Haven, CT and Washington DC.
Our hope for 2014 is to hear to what you, our community, thinks. Please be in touch with any questions or desires about the direction of these world-changing organizations this year. You do so much for the world, let us know what we can do for you. And if you would like to go see the programs your donations create, join us either March 9-19 or April 14-23 for an exclusive trip to ASRI! Email us for more details.
As always, thank you for everything you do.
Dear Global Givers,
We have some very sad news to report this time around, but plenty of hope and inspiration as well.
At the end of September, a fast-moving fire devastated our reforestation site at Laman Satong, home to nearly 80,000 seedlings planted with love over four years. It swept over the twenty-hectare (nearly 50 acre) site in less than two hours, killing 95% of the trees despite the community’s rapid response and best efforts. Everyone at ASRI is heartbroken, but determined to move forward stronger than ever in our work to protect and restore the rainforest. The community’s reaction has shown us just how important replanting is: it is a symbol of hope and a reminder of how challenging it can be to replace what was lost. One man, viewing the aftermath of the fire, said he would think twice about logging again after seeing how hard it is to reforest.
The good news is that real progress is being made toward ending deforestation in Gunung Palung National Park! When we first began our red-green village system in 2010, giving “green” villages that have not illegally logged for the past 30 days a 75% healthcare subsidy, only three villages out of thirty qualified. This October, 12 villages have gone green! The local government has also begun to crack down on illegal logging: in August, two logging bosses with large illegal operations within the park were arrested. Our Forest Guardians were so excited by this news that they travelled en-masse to the new head of the National Park to demand action in other problem areas. Conservation is being taken seriously, and change is happening faster than we could have hoped.
ASRI Kids are a large part of this growing culture of conservation. Etty recently returned to Sukadana from a 6-week internship at the Oregon Zoo summer camp, where she and the zoo staff shared their environmental education expertise with each other. She came home invigorated with many new ideas on how to engage the ASRI Kids. (Watch our interview with her about her trip here.) With one recent after-school class increasing from the planned 25 children to 40 as more kids came to learn, we are excited to see how Etty engages them even more! And the kids are learning a lot: in the pre- and post-tests taken by the 200 children we taught in the 2012-2013 year, only 3% could name 3 benefits of the forest before the ASRI Kids classes. Afterwards, 71% could!
Our organic farming trainings are having similarly inspiring success. One farmer who participated in our training in sustainable agricultural methods shared the results from his half-hectare of rice cultivation:
Using non-organic methods:
Harvest 0: Yield 1 ton of rice (using 1.2 tons of chemical fertilizer costing $360)
Using organic methods:
Harvest 1: Yield 2 tons of rice (using 500 kg of organic fertilizer costing $15)
Harvest 2: Yield 3 tons of rice (using 300 kg of organic fertilizer at $9)
Harvest 3: Yield 3.7 tons of rice (using 300 kg of organic fertilizer at $9)
In other words, every year he is getting a larger yield and having to put less into his soil as it gets healthier and healthier, and he's doing this at a dramatically lower price. This is in direct contrast to how other farmers describe needing to increase the amount of chemical fertilizer every year to get a decreasing yield.
The environment is becoming healthier and so are the people. Common disease symptoms have decreased across the board in the communities surrounding the park, and we’re even winning against the deadly chronic illnesses malaria and tuberculosis. In 2008, we diagnosed 70 cases of malaria, and in 2012 we saw less than 12; tuberculosis cases have also gone from 40 in Sukadana in 2009 to 6 in 2012 with the help of ASRI’s DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short-course) workers. We’re extremely proud of the work ASRI-trained healthcare workers of all types do, and ASRI is becoming a sought-after training center, thanks to our top-notch medical volunteers. One such volunteer, Yale-trained certified nurse-midwife Karen Ruby Brown, returned to ASRI in September to repeat her highly successful 2011 midwife trainings. She was in such high demand that we had to schedule an unplanned second training during her trip!
All of ASRI’s services are in high demand, and to meet the community’s needs we are moving forward with the proposed Community Health, Surgical, and Training Center. Just last week, Kari Malen and Loren Bell, along with former volunteer Andrew MacDonald, and Health In Harmony supporters Ryan Bell, Brittni Milam, Darin Bell, and Luke Morehead ran the Portland Marathon to raise money for the new Center. They all finished admirably, and raised $2,725 – more than enough to fund the radiology room! We’re so impressed by both their running and fundraising efforts.
But as we’ve been reminded recently, it’s not as individuals or even small teams that we succeed. It truly takes an entire community: to plant a forest, to spread awareness, to change the face of global health. We could not do what we do without you, our Global Giving community, and we are incredibly grateful for your continued support. Warmly, Health In Harmony
I hope you are enjoying a sunny and adventurous summer. It is an exciting season for Health In Harmony and our program partner ASRI with an anniversary, a generous matching donation challenge, an upcoming marathon, a rewarding site visit, and ASRI Kids’ second summer. For us, this summer has been a time to celebrate ASRI’s anniversary and the success we have achieved through partnership with you. ASRI opened its clinic doors six years ago and began providing quality, affordable health care to the communities around Gunung Palung National Forest. Today, more than one third of the individuals living in those communities have come to ASRI to benefit from that care. The results from our five-year survey completed earlier this year gave us even more reason to celebrate. We see the health of the people and the ecosystems improving hand-in-hand.
The only limit to this success is physical space. Serving so many patients in addition to providing trainings in organic farming and other alternate livelihoods is stretching Clinik ASRI beyond its capacity. We recently received a building permit for a new Community Health, Surgical and Training Center and are working on a fundraising push. One very generous donor, Jan O’Brien, gave $10,000 to the center - a gift we are currently tripling for ASRI’s birthday! A gift that size would build the dental suite or three outpatient rooms or the radiology lab. Wow! You can read more about the progress on the new clinic on our website and blog.
HIH and ASRI staff is helping with the July fundraising goal by participating in the Portland Marathon, in our headquarter city in October. ASRI Cofounder Hotlin Ompusunggu, fresh off a marathon in Indonesia, will run with Volunteer Coordinator Kari Malen and her husband Loren Bell, and donations to the team will go to the new clinic. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the team’s training and ways to donate.
Since we last wrote, Kelsey has also posted albums on Facebook with photos from Michelle’s April trip to Sukadana with a group from Dining for Women. The women participated in a deeply meaningful Goats for Widows gifting ceremony that was the highlight of a powerful and emotional journey making connections across geography and language.
Finally, summer is also the season for ASRI Kids. This was the second summer for the program, and the children, families and our leaders continue to be very excited by the opportunity for local kids to learn about making paper, recycling, rainforest ecosystems and, the yearly highlight, taking a field trip into the national park. Even though these children live right on the park’s border, most have never visited, and they saw orangutans and other spectacular wildlife for the first time on this trip. This year’s class also had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. Birute Galdikas, premier primatologist and the founder of Tanjung Putting National Park. One of the ASRI Kids cofounders, Ana Sofia, wrote a wrap-up of the summer with some great photos – you can read it on our blog here.
None of the success in health, reforestation or environmental education we have seen in the past six years could have happened without your support. When people like you see the connections between human and environmental health, lives and forests are saved. Please continue following our blog, our Facebook and our Twitter for the latest news about our July matching donations, the Portland Marathon training and more happenings in Portland and Sukadana.
How was your Earth Day? We hope it was as green as ours and thank you to all those who chose to give in honor of our planet! Since January, thanks to you, so much as happened for us here at Health In Harmony and at our project partner, ASRI.
Some of our biggest news is that ASRI has secured a construction permit for the new, expanded Community Health and Training Center to expand the healthcare and training services offered. This was a long process of working conscientiously with local authorities, and we are thrilled to begin construction this summer.
Daring dentist and ASRI co-Founder Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu is raising funds for a dental wing in that new community health center, by running in the Borneo International Marathon, to take place on May 5th! We've been calling it the "Marathon For Molars." (And, earlier this year, as part of her ongoing dental education of the community, there was a toothbrushing competition for the local kids. See photo below.)
Meanwhile, reforestation has continued apace. In February, reforestation at Laman Satong was completed, placing over 7350 seedlings in a 2 hectare (about 5 acre) plot of previously degraded land about two hours away from Sukadana. Reforestation has also been completed at the Sederhan Corridor (a gap between two areas of forest near Sukadana, ASRI's home base) - over 5000 seedlings! - and orangutans have been glimpsed using the plank bridge put up for humans to use during reforestation - we are so excited that orangutans, which spend over 95% of their lives in the trees, will be even more able to travel between these previously isolated forest regions once the trees grow!
The highly popular sustainable agriculture (organic farming) training programs continue. An ex-logger attested personally to the effectiveness of the program, saying, "The truth is that five years ago we were all loggers. We usually got one crop of rice and the rest of the time we logged. Now no one in this village logs because we now get two or three crops of rice and are making money in other ways. When I think back to how poor we were then, its amazing the change now that ASRI has made in our lives. And now we know about how important it is to protect the trees that produce oxygen." Wow. What an amazing shift!
And it's not just anecdotal - ASRI staffer, Agus Supianto, confirmed with his most recent survey of the villagers that since the program's inception in 2007, we have gone from three to TEN non-logging villages out of the thirteen surrounding Gunung Palung National Park!
In news of other alternative sustainable livelihoods training, Goats For Widows continues its success with increased animal stewardship trainings and distribution of goats to even more widowed women. In late April, cross-global connection is continuing, with a delegation from Dining For Women (a giving circle spanning the United States that selected HIH as the featured program in September 2012) visiting ASRI! Photos soon to come.
PS - Our director Michelle, and volunteer manager Kari, are currently conducting our annual site visit to ASRI - Check out Michelle's blog posts at the HIH Blog! We'll be sharing photos too: try Facebook or Twitter for more updates.
First of all, we want to share with you the remarkable results from our Five Year Survey! The survey was completed to quantify our partner ASRI's effectiveness, measured against the 2007 Baseline Survey. The survey, including 1500 to 2000 participants (some questions got more responses than others) shows that, since ASRI's founding:
..and these are just some of the results. You can read the survey here in summary or full versions.
Secondly, we closed out 2012 with enthusiastic support from all of our donors - and an enthusiastic "hello" and thank you to those of you who are joining us for the first time, having participated in Gifts for Good. Thanks to you, several families will get supplies, training, and assistance starting up their kitchen gardens. And thanks to all of you, our partners at ASRI continue to do amazing work - since we last wrote to you, together we have:
Finally, we wanted to share with you that our Founder and President, Dr. Kinari Webb, gave a TEDx Talk in Jakarta! Watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eOspm19pgY and if you find it interesting (which we are sure you will…) - share it with your friends, and let us know what you think!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.