Creating sustainable livelihoods in rural Malaysia

Sustainable rural communities in Malaysia

In emerging countries, elevating the standards of living of the poorest can often be a problematic task. In Malaysia, an innovative solution aims at providing cheap housing and sustainable jobs through a project of “smart village” that combines construction, agriculture and technology.

This “Business Circle” video is part of series on innovation in Malaysia that also includes interesting approaches to improve the taxi system and to add value to the touristic heritage of Malaysia.

Sustainable living for the poor

The village of Rimbunan Kaseh is an innovative project which goal is to create sustainable livelihoods in the countryside north of Kuala Lumpur. Through this pilot project, creating new jobs for rural communities seems to be an attainable goal that could be replicated in a larger scale, and enable many regions in Malaysia, but also in other countries, to find an issue to poverty.

Sustainable livelihoods: house, work and income

The Malaysian company Iris Corp supplies the rural community of Rimbunan Kaseh with affordable housing, thanks to Styrofoam produced from recycled materials from agriculture. This light material is easy to install and reduces the need for highly skilled workers to build a house, enabling the setting up of a simple 100 m² house in 10 days, when it would normally take a month with usual construction materials.

Together with comfortable houses, local communities can also find sustainable work through agriculture. Thanks to modern technologies, aquaculture, hydroponics and animal husbandry, varied food products can be produced out of traditional agricultural zones.

A virtuous circle of development

With food and shelter, this kind of self-sufficient community can provide a sustainable livelihood for about 100 houses. Furthermore, a stable work, income and household paves the way towards a virtuous circle of self-esteem, confidence, learning and happiness for people who might previously have been more insecure.

Replicated through careful development planning, this kind of sustainable village could offer a great solution for many rural communities to escape poverty. In the long-run, such projects could bring people back into the workforce, so that they can pay taxes and be an active part of a modern nation.

Video published by ETP Roadmap in August 2013

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