Dr Ainurul Rosli and Dr Sharifah Alwi research helps to strengthen rural community capacity in Borneo

This project, in collaboration with Dr Jane Chang of Gritse Community Interest Company, contributes towards strengthening the capacity for the community to support the local economic and social development agenda in Sabah.

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The researchers work with 14 rural smallholders of Ulu Sapi community, in Beluran Sabah, Borneo to help them increase their resilience and build the community brand through entrepreneurship. The Ulu Sapi community in Sandakan, Sabah has been struggling to survive due to the fluctuation of prices in palm oil, and the lack of economic development in the area.

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The rural smallholders learnt and defined the right and meaningful distinctiveness: of who they are – individually and collectively as entrepreneur(s), and what they stand for. Due to financial resources limitation, these rural, poor and less educated independent palm oil smallholders who rely on their community to survive, actually neglect the importance of branding, particularly their community.

 

On the 14th Feb, 2020, the researchers presented the results to a policy maker, the Honourable YB Assaffal P. Alian, Assistant Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Department.

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From left: Puan Rosnah, YB Assaffal P. Alian, Dr Rosli and Dr Alwi. Dr Chang was sitting
on the left with the audience. The assistant minister congratulates the researchers  and the Ulu Sapi villagers

 

In his speech, he expressed his gratitude to the team of researchers, and stated: “Whatever we are doing today with this project is correct and I will take this programme [project] and send our team from Sabah Tourism Board to come here [to Ulu Sapi] to evaluate for product update and do any plan on what we can do together to make this work. We are not supporting you, but working with you to take this forward to grow this place.”

 

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Left: Researchers site visit to brand the waterfall as part of the local community offerings
Right: Pak Jefri, feeding his school of fish, a project he developed while attending the programme

To know more about the project, visit: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Projects/Entrepreneurship-resilience-and-rural-community-branding

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