SDAC-Ford continues support for GPF Malaysia’s Orang Asli programme

SDAC-Ford (Sime Darby Auto ConneXion-Ford) recently reaffirmed its commitment to the empowerment of Orang Asli communities through a second collaboration with Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Malaysia. The organisation works to address the gaps in our social system through innovative ways to embrace diversity and acts as a catalyst for social integration alongside the efforts of the government, private and social sector.

Food-farming programme
This time, the joint effort focused on supporting GPF’s OA-Eco Farm programme in four Orang Asli Villages in Kuala Rompin, Pahang. This programme is a food-farming initiative that aims to enable self-sufficiency and sustainable income amongst Orang Asli families. It provides hands-on training and coaching, and subsidies such as tools and seedlings.

SDAC-Ford CSR with Global Peace Foundation

Key challenges of food farming in Orang Asli communities include limited resources to purchase seeds, seedlings and farming tools, and environmental challenges such as droughts and soil that is hard and dry. Predominantly hunter-gatherers, training in sustainable farming techniques to manage soil health is essential for success.

Known for its dedication to supporting communities by fostering resilience and cohesion, GPF launched the OA-Eco Farm programme to address these challenges. This initiative not only enhances the livelihoods of the Orang Asli community but also promotes sustainable practices and environmental conservation. Since its inception, GPF has worked with more than 70 villages to provide access to clean water, energy, sustainable livelihood and education.

SDAC-Ford CSR with Global Peace Foundation

From farm to market
The programme adopts a holistic farming method called Syntropic Farming that revitalises the ecosystem and regenerates the soil to ensure food security and sustainability. In addition to training, coaching and subsidies, the foundation has created an online marketplace for the Orang Asli farmers to generate more income from their farming activities. Hosted on GPF’s website, the marketplace, which is called Kebun Amai, features various fresh fruits and vegetables and even artisanal products from the farmers and their families.

“COVID-19 has exposed the severe food insecurity faced by the Orang Asli population. Deforestation and land encroachment worsen the situation, leading to severe malnourishment and food shortages. Food security is critical to building resiliency,” said Dr. Teh Su Thye, CEO of Global Peace Foundation.

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US$10,000 contribution from Ford
Backed by a generous contribution of US$10,000 (RM45,745) from Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, 22 staff volunteers from SDAC-Ford joined forces with the GPF team to visit the three villages earlier this month.

SDAC-Ford CSR with Global Peace Foundation

They brought donations of seedlings, farming equipment, kitchen tools and a healthy dose of enthusiasm and energy.  The volunteers also worked closely with the Orang Asli community in one of the villages, assisting them in installing solar-powered equipment for their fencing system. They also helped cultivate the land by loosening soil, cutting grass and making plot lines before planting the biomass crop seedlings.

“Global Peace Foundation has been making significant strides in their efforts to empower the Orang Asli community. Their mission aligns perfectly with SDAC’s commitment to corporate citizenship and community development. We are proud to continue our partnership to make a greater impact on the lives of the Orang Asli communities,” said Turse Zuhair, Managing Director of SDAC-Ford.

SDAC-Ford CSR with Global Peace Foundation

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