I had the privilege of working with the Sabah RE2 technical team to identify innovative approaches towards Sabah's efforts in electrifying remote, rural villages with off-grid and community-based renewable grids. Although I was virtually working with the team most of the time, the experience was valuable nonetheless as I was exposed to a wide range of real-world problems. It was also interesting to observe firsthand how a team of diverse backgrounds and nationalities work together to achieve one common goal, and the experience has taught me to always keep an open mind when it comes to solving complex challenges. I definitely felt that I was part of the team as everyone was very accommodating to my curious inquiries and I believe that this placement has paved the way for me to continue my professional career in establishing inclusive renewable energy systems.
There is now a special place in my heart for Forever Sabah. It was so great to meet and work with the Forever Sabah team. I can’t thank Forever Sabah enough for the opportunity to work in this great organization with all of you lovely people in a beautiful place like this. I will never forget it. I loved every minute of it. I absolutely loved meeting new people, learning the new language(s), eating new foods, seeing the gorgeous sunsets and Milky Way cores, trekking through the rainforest, seeing the biodiversity, learning about soil/the rainforest, experiencing life in the rural villages, and laughing until my stomach hurts. I truly appreciate it all. This has been such an enriching, eye-opening experience for me, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hopefully, I’ll come back within the next couple of years. Terima kasih banyak!
Interning with Forever Sabah was a great opportunity to gain on-the-ground experience in community-based programming, which served as a great capstone for my university studies and a launching pad for my next job. They really listen when you share what you are looking for out of your time with them - I couldn't believe how much responsibility they gave me from the start! I loved participating in their mountaintop and valley immersion programs, which are great examples of the organization's intentionality in everything they do. A great team of people to work with! I definitely walked away with some incredible memories and hands-on experience.
Interning at Forever Sabah under the Legal Innovation Programme made a shift in perspectives on how I look at the social issues in Sabah, especially the struggle of conserving the environment and indigenous people. My primary responsibility was to conduct research for a Forever Sabah working paper on the policy, legal and social-cultural context for riparian areas and river reserves in Sabah. It was a complex topic for me but the trust given by the organisation, especially my supervisor, led me to various opportunities to learn on the topic and explore my talents attending and co-facilitating workshops, seminars, festivals and community outreach to various stakeholders.
A large part of the skills that I improved during this internship are my communication and facilitation skills during the meetings with government officials, scientists, NGOs, and village leaders in rural areas. I also develop the ability to adapt to a different environment and culture than I was used to. Everything was a lesson from going to the rural villages to attending professional seminars and workshops.
The six months internship sparked my passion to work closely with the community and now it has become the foundation of the work that I am currently on, working towards institutional reform in Malaysia. I believe that Forever Sabah is the best platform for people who are passionate with community work and want to contribute the best for Sabah.
The internship with LEAP was an eye-opening, challenging, and growth-filled experience. I was paired with clean energy experts and I helped to research and write a clean energy options report that was used in a successful campaign to stop construction of a coal-fired power plant. I also helped organize discussions and the process of writing LEAP’s 5-year strategic plan, which exposed me to many different issues, areas of work, and gave me a greater understanding of the nature of LEAP’s partnerships that form the basis of all the projects. Visiting projects in the field—the communities that do the daily work of stewardship and creatively achieving co-existence between humans and nature—is also an essential part of the internship. Simply being at several community-based projects and seeing how community organizations deal with challenges and conceive of solutions opened my eyes to a different side of “conservation” that is hundreds to thousands of years old yet still is not sufficiently recognized or supported in the modern conservation movement. Most of all, the internship with LEAP threw me in with diverse actors—civil society members, community leaders, scientists, and others, and gave me experience of how strong collaborations are developed amidst complex cultural-economic-ecological situations where everyone comes from completely different experiences and perspectives.
I participated in the Volunteer Internship Program in summer of 2019, and found it invaluable! I worked with CERT (Community Elephant Ranger Team) to solve human-wildlife conflict issues in Bauto. During this time, I got to track wild elephants, learn about the socioeconomic factors affecting Telupid’s environment from its residents, and grow my project management and research skills. I gained hands-on experience with GIS, tree surveying, science communication, and data management, skills that went on to help me secure a job before I even graduated!
During my stay, there were plenty of opportunities for cultural exchange and taking part in events, like rice plantings, around Telupid. And my host family was amazingly welcoming— I felt like family the whole time I was there! I also had an immense amount of support from several members of the Forever Sabah Institute throughout my internship, and made connections I still have today. If you’re looking to work for a community-centred NGO that offers incomparable skills and experiences, I can’t recommend this program enough!
Interning with Forever Sabah had equipped me to learn first-hand about community organizing, develop facilitation skills upon dealing with the communities and acquire knowledge about project grants.
Throughout my 6 months internship in 2019, I was involved in the Ramsar Community Initiative team as an observer and mainly worked on project documentation. I appreciate how my colleagues treated me as one of their own.
Working with the Forever Sabah team was a formative experience in my professional career. It gave me the opportunity to learn from and work directly alongside leading scientists, high level politicians, respected community leaders and innovative entrepreneurs. Being a part of the Forever Sabah team taught me the value of listening deeply and the power of evening the playing field so all key stakeholders have a seat and a voice at the table.
The Administration and Finance Intern will have the opportunity to learn how to provide finance and administrative support that ensures high quality, accuracy and consistency of work.