Meet the Team I Forever Sabah

Forever Sabah X-Team Trustees

 

Cynthia OngExecutive Director

Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP)

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Cynthia currently serves as the Interim FS Board Chair. She brings 20 years of entrepreneurship, socio-environmental justice and community activism, through her roles as founder/co-founder, board director and/or CEO of numerous organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit in South East Asia and in the U.S. Her experience has been in the fields of organizational leadership, special events and project management, and group facilitation/mediation.

Dr. John PayneExecutive Director

Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA)

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Inspired by English countryside and London Zoo half a century ago, John Payne ended up in Malaysia in the 1970s when the natural forest logging industry was giving way to large plantation expansion. He was privileged to have the opportunity to conduct wildlife and natural vegetation surveys in Sabah and Kalimantan, between 1975-2004, spending over 25,000 hours living inside the tropical rainforest. Several forest conservation areas in Sabah exist as a result of work done as a WWF-Malaysia staff with the Government of Sabah. He has authored several books on Sabah's natural history and was lead author of the Sabah Conservation Strategy (1992) with the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Development.

Anne LasimbangExecutive Director

Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS)

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Anne Lasimbang is the current Executive Director of PACOS Trust, a community-based organization (CBO) dedicated towards supporting Indigenous communities in Sabah. For over 25 years, Anne has been working to empower indigenous communities and has supported the development of community organizations in 17 districts across Sabah, 25 schools and community learning centers, and an ongoing array of programs strengthening indigenous knowledge systems, rights, culture and resource management. She is the past president of the Sabah Women's Action Resource Group, Persatuan Tadika Sabah and Persatuan TASKA Sabah, and received the Community Service Award from the Rotary Club of KK in 2008. She is also an avid dancer and hopes to get the rest of the X-team dancing the Sumazau at every meeting.

Fred KuganDeputy Director

Forest Sector Planning - Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)

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Mr Frederick Kugan is a forester by profession, having graduated from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) (1987) and from New Brunswick University, Canada (1991). He has been with the Sabah Forestry Department since 1987 and had served in various positions over the years. He was appointed as the Deputy Director of Forestry (Forest Sector Planning) since 2006. His current portfolio, amongst others, involves: Policy and Legislation, Forest Sectoral Planning, International and Corporate Affairs, and Project Collaboration and Cooperation.

Dr. Robert OngDeputy Head of Research

Forest Research Center - Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)

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Robert C. Ong heads the Natural Forest Ecology and Management research programme at the Forest Research Centre in Sandakan, Sabah. He joined the Sabah Forestry Department in 1991 after receiving his MSc in forest biology from Virginia Tech, and a PhD in forestry from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Over the past 25 years, his research has focused on logged forest restoration and management, as well as the commercial cultivation of native trees and improving wood utilisation. Robert is passionate about environmental education and was instrumental in the establishment of the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan, a foremost environmental education facility that promotes the sustainable management of forest resources.

Darrel WebberSecretary General

Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

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Darrel is an expert in sustainable agricultural development, bringing 20 years of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. He has worked in management for various multinational corporations and environmental NGOs, developing a specialty in engaging the palm oil industry on issues of sustainability. Currently, Darrel serves as the Secretary General of the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Forever Sabah Technical Coordinators

 

 

Martin VogelTechnical Coordinator

Community Based Ecologically Sustainable Tourism

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Martin is best known in Sabah for his work on the MESCOT community based ecotourism initiative at Batu Puteh, Kinabatangan. Martin has a background in business development, marketing and training; he also brings a number of years of hands-on experience in forest and wetland restoration, and forest management planning. Martin is the Project Coordinator for Forever Sabah’s Ecotourism Focal area, and is focused on developing Forever Sabah's Community-based Ecologically Sustainable Tourism Programme. Martin is currently based in the Kinabatangan.

Yoggie LasimbangTechnical Coordinator

Watersheds & Communities

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Yoggie has worked with indigenous communities for many years, and has significant experience as a field coordinator on projects involving local training and capacity building under bodies, including the Southeast Asia Regional Institute for Community Education (1994-1996), Sabah Wildlife Department (2001-2003), and the Sabah Drainage and Irrigation Department (2002 -2004). She also has extensive knowledge of indigenous issues in Sabah and currently works part time with the Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) Trust as the Capacity Building & Human Resource Coordinator. As Forever Sabah's Technical Coordinator of Watersheds & Communities, she intends to draw on this breadth of experience in coordinating the development of a living landscape in Sabah’s Telupid Forest Complex region.

Casey NgTechnical Coordinator

Freshwater For Future

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Freshwater ecosystem integrity, resilience and sustainability initiatives are led by Casey Ng who has more than 20 years of experience in designing and curating socio-ecological projects. Although he has a science-based academic background, Casey doesn't see himself entirely as a scholar, but rather a facilitator, enabler and field worker. As an advocate of citizen science, he believes that science must be open and communicative, and spaces must be continuously created for honest conversation with stakeholders. Casey is convinced that science is only useful when the findings are expressed in a manner which is easily understood to empower the local communities.

Holly JonasTechnical Coordinator

Legal Innovation

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Holly Jonas has a background in public international law, zoology and anthropology and worked for Natural Justice (a South Africa-based legal NGO) from 2009-2015. Based in Sabah since 2010, she coordinates Forever Sabah's Legal Innovation Programme and co-directs Ridge to Reef (a local environmental organisation) with husband Harry. She also serves as the ICCA Consortium's International Policy Coordinator and provides legal and policy support to other local and international NGOs focusing on indigenous and community stewardship of territories and resources.

Harry JonasTechnical Coordinator

Communities, Coasts, Islands & Seas

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Harry Jonas is a lawyer and co-founded Natural Justice. His life interest is in the impact of law, politics, and economics on the biosphere, and as a corollary, in exploring how local approaches to law and policy promote social and environmental integrity. After working for 4 years from South Africa, Harry established an office in Sabah, Malaysia, with Holly Jonas to deepen Natural Justice’s work in the Asia-Pacific region. He engages with the full spectrum of the organization’s thinking and activities and is an Ashoka Fellow.

Neville YappTechnical Coordinator

Communities, Coasts, Islands & Seas

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Neville is a Project Manager at Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), and a Forever Sabah technical coordinator for the Communities, Coasts, Islands and Seas initiative. He has been working throughout Sabah for over six years, engaging with several communities to facilitate the development of community-based tourism and other alternative livelihoods, and supports community watershed restoration. Neville also provides institutional support and is involved in fundraising.

Maria LasimbangTechnical Coordinator

Kivatu Nature Farm

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Maria has been farming for as long as she can remember, and from an early age she realized her passion lies with the soil and what she can produce from it. She comes from a family who planted their own rice and vegetables for their own consumption, and she built on those skills by studying agriculture at the Sabah Institute of Agriculture at Timbang Menggaris in Tenom. After completing her studies, she went on to work for various departments and organisations including the welfare department for special needs children. In 1996, she became the Managing Director for Hinompuka Cafe, specializing in traditional ethnic cuisine.  She is still running this cafe today. The cafe is located on her family land near Kivatu in Penampang and she grows produce for the cafe at Kivatu Nature Farm. Through a partnership with Forever Sabah, Maria is creating a 'model farm' with the intention of educating the local community and sharing her wealth of experience. In return, she also learns from local farming traditions and acts as a conduit to pass these new found skills on to others.

Philip ChinTechnical Coordinator

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

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A Sino-Kadazan who hails from Kg. Nampasan, Penampang, Phillip currently serves as a resource person for the Natural Resource Management Program Coordinator at PACOS Trust, a community-based organization in Penampang, Sabah. He holds a Certificate from the Human Resource Development Bureau, Malaysia, and is trained in Community Based Hydro Power Development in Indonesia. Philip has 18 years’ worth of experience working on watershed management in rural communities. He is also a community mapping and GIS specialist (trained by the ESRI). He has worked in several other capacities, namely Micro-hydro Technical Advisor and Project Team Leader for Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) DANIDA in Northern Sabah.

Dr. K Yoganand Technical Coordinator

Forest Connectivity

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Yoganand is a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist with long experience in research and design, management and implementation of conservation projects. His experience covers large mammals, their forest and savanna habitats in South and Southeast Asia, and southern Africa. He has special interests in monitoring status of threatened species, forest restoration and species recovery, landcover mapping and landscape-scale planning, training conservation professionals, and carrying out evidence-based advocacy for advancing conservation policies and practices. He contributes to the Forever Sabah initiative on forest conservation by providing technical inputs to landscape-scale mapping of high conservation values, participating in preparation of state-level forest management, connectivity and restoration plans, and supporting development and implementation of state forest conservation policies and pilot projects.

Dr. Nicola AbramTechnical Coordinator

SPaCES Project/HCV Mapping

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Nicola has worked on landscape level socio-economic, forest conservation, and oil palm issues since 2009. She is a specialist in interdisciplinary spatial analyses and planning, focusing on human-environment linkages within landscapes, and promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development agendas in multi-use environments. Nicola is developing and heading The SPaCES Project, “Spatial Planning for Conservation, Sustainable Economic Development and Society”; a holistic approach to better land utilisation for Sabah. She is involved in High Conservation Value (HCV) work in Sabah, and co-represents Forever Sabah as a member of two Technical Working Groups (TWG) on HCVs (HCV Identification TWG; and, HCV-Toolkit TWG). Nicola is also the founder and co-director of a small UK organisation called Living Landscape Alliance, a partner of Forever Sabah.

Rosli JukranaTechnical Coordinator

Community Based Ecologically Sustainable Tourism

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Rosli is a key member of MESCOT and hails from the Batu Puteh Community in Kinabatangan. From 2009-2015, he was the Executive Manager of the community cooperative known as KOPEL. He facilitated and lead a wide variety of work areas including community organizing, community planning, forest restoration, forest ecology, wildlife and nature photography, community film making, community mapping, and community outreach. Rosli is currently assisting the team with project planning, media development and community engagement under CBEST, and leads the KOPEL extension eco-tourism development programme. Rosli is also leading efforts to expand community led citizen-science to address environmental issues, particularly focusing on water quality monitoring and analysis.

Forever Sabah Team Members

 

 

Noel SeanunduCoordinator

Watersheds & Communities

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Noel is a Sabahan with BSc in Intelligent System from University Teknologi MARA, Malaysia in 2012. He joined Forever Sabah in 2014 for and is currently leading a community engagement project with the Forestry Department in Telupid. Prior to this job, he gained exposure and experience in related community organizing task and activities with various NGOs in Kota Kinabalu such as Community-Led Environment Awareness for our River (CLEAR), PACOS Trust, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia and Youth Prep Centre KK. He makes new friends everyday while working under the guidance of Claudia Lasimbang, his mentor in Forever Sabah. Currently his work is focused on meeting with government departments and engaging effectively with communities in the District of Telupid, Sabah.

Hilary Herie JitilonCoordinator

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

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Hilary is a Sabahan with a Bsc in Management in Telecommunication Engineering from Multimedia College Sabah, Malaysia. Hilary joined Forever Sabah in 2015 as a Research Assistant with the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) team. He is working under the guidance of Philip Chin and Claudia Lasimbang, with focus on work in the district of Telupid and also some of the villages in the district of Tongod. Hilary enjoys the experience he has gained from engaging and working with local communities, and is confident that the things he is learning on the ground will make him grow stronger and more confident to accomplish major tasks in the future.

Elisna LatikCoordinator

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

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Elisna received her bachelor's degree with honors in social sciences (Geography) from University Malaysia Sabah in 2014. She joined Forever Sabah in July 2015 as a Research Assistant for the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) project. This is her first experience working with communities and she admits it has many challenges and requires strong mental endurance. Elisna values the leadership of Philip Chin & Claudia Lasimbang to the CSPO team, and has found that the challenges on the field have become the most useful experiences.

Maslianah RamlanCoordinator

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

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Maslianah obtained a BA (Hon.) degree in Social Science (Geography) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah in November 2014. She has been working with Forever Sabah since August 2015 as a Research Assistant for the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) Project. Under the guidance of Philip Chin and Claudia Lasimbang, she is grabbing the opportunity to explore new things and is enjoying her experience in the field.

Forever Sabah Advisors

 

 

Geoff LyeChairman

SustainAbility

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Geoff has worked extensively with a wide range of multinationals in over 30 years of consulting, including a leading European communications consultancy, the RSA’s influential Tomorrow’s Company Inquiry team and the BBC on environmental and communications issues in the lead-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. He has also headed strategic sustainability reviews with a wide range of global companies including BT, Coca-Cola, Ford, KPMG, Nestlé and Shell. As the current head of SustainAbility’s leadership team and a member of its Board, Geoff plays a fundamental role in delivering the NGO’s forward strategy. He was lead author of SustainAbility’s ground-breaking report, The Changing Landscape of Liability, which assesses how new forms of social, environmental and economic liability demand a new approach to strategic risk management and co-author of Taxing Issues, which explores the issue of responsible tax policies and practice within the broader corporate responsibility agenda.