Community development

The Borneo rainforest has always been home to both orangutans and people. Save the Orangutan is working together with our local partner, BOS Foundation, and with funds from CISU, an independent association of Danish Civil Society Organisations, in order to secure a place in nature for people, plants and animals.

Marginalised population

The heavily marginalised indigenous population, the Dayaks, live in and around the rainforest. They are often affected by sparse or non-existent infrastructure, lack of education and employment opportunities.

Rights and independence

Save the Orangutan seeks to ensure that the indigenous people are aware of their rights. Most smallholders do not have formal rights to the land they cultivate. Their livelihoods are under constant pressure.

Environmental education

Save the Orangutan endeavours to raise awareness about about environmental considerations and sustainability. Climate change and the depletion of natural resources have aggravated the livelihood of the small farmers' and fishermen's situation.

Sustainable sources of income

It is tempting to engage in illegal activities like logging and mining when it is difficult to get food on the table. The activities are exacerbating the villagers’ situation, but it is hard to think long-term when you live from hand to mouth.

Local anchoring

Save the Orangutan’s experience shows that it is crucial to a project's success and sustainability that it arises from the villagers’ own needs and that they, and not we, are the driving force behind the development.


Project Manager Marie Sigvardt during a visit in Mawas.

“The local people on Borneo depend on the rainforest just as much as the orangutans do. The development has put enormous pressure on the forest and the natural resources, and the local population is forced into unsustainable and often illegal income opportunities. This, however, only aggravates the situation for both themselves and the orangutans. Action is therefore to be taken on many fronts if the orangutan is to be saved.”