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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chairman's address

This year, the MNS-Kuching Branch celebrates its 13th year in Sarawak, and in 2010, MNS the national society, will celebrate its 70th year in Malaysia.

As an organization dedicated to nature conservation in Malaysia, MNS has many comparative advantages, foremost of which are:
• It is an independent, non-partisan entity;
• It is a membership-based organization, which draws support from all levels of society;
• It has a long history and track record in Malaysia, with many tangible results to show for it; and
• It has a clear mission, demonstrated through its actions and programmes.

In our 13-year journey in Sarawak, we have made use of these comparative advantages to introduce, develop and demonstrate innovative ideas and approaches to conservation and development challenges, such as through our “Trees for Life” Community Project with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, which offers an opportunity for the Kuching community to get involved in nature conservation efforts at the Sama Jaya Nature Reserve.

We have formed strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations to organize events to raise awareness about the wonders of Sarawak’s natural heritage, such as our annual Bird Race in Borneo Highlands.

Through the Bako-Buntal Bay project, we aim to serve as a bridge between Sarawak and the global nature conservation community

In some instances, we have broken new ground and led the way for others to follow; we were the first MNS branch in Malaysia to develop a branch-level Strategic Plan. Our “Trees for Life” and the Bako-Buntal Bay projects have offered new and innovative ways for people from all walks of life to get involved in nature conservation efforts.

It has been a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience for me to have had the opportunity to work with the committed, enthusiastic and dedicated bunch of people in the committee these past two years. I would also like to thank the members who have volunteered their time and energy to assist with our work this past year and the years before. To those of you whom we have called on for advice and assistance on specific tasks and projects, thank you for saying ‘yes’ and for being there when we needed you.

Margaret Mead said, and I quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Here at the Kuching Branch, we may not be many in terms of numbers, but by working together smartly and efficiently, we have been able to ensure that the branch continues to grow in the right direction. I truly believe that the Kuching Branch is today one of the best MNS branches in Malaysia for what we have been able to achieve.
I am confident that if we work together and continue to grow the way we have, we are on track to be the leading nature conservation organization in Sarawak. Not bad for a 13-year old!

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