Murum Penans Program on “Good Health Begins At Home"

Murum, Bintulu, 27 November 2013: Riding on the success of the Murum Penan Literacy Programme, Sarawak Energy has recently organised the ‘Good Health Begins at Home’ programme for the Penans in Murum. The programme aims to provide education on basic health and hygiene practices in order to improve the Penans’ health and well-being.

In partnership with the Society for the Advancement of Woman and the Family Sarawak (SAWF), the programme was conducted under Stage 2 of the Murum Penan Literacy Programme for the six affected Penan villages in Murum and the Long Wat community staying in Sungai Asap.

Joanne Tan, Social Investment Manager in Sarawak Energy said: “In our first programme, we managed to provide solid literacy foundations to more than 330 Penans. In Stage 2 of the programme, we would like to ensure continuous learning and development of the community. It also aims to compliment the livelihood restoration in the Murum Resettlement Action Plan.”

“Stage 2 covers two modules - Module 1 on personal development consisting of five topics – Motivation, Vision, Values, Communication and Change and Module 2 on the aspects of Good Health,” added Joanne.   

Maria Peter, trainer from SAWF: “The overall response is very good. They enjoy learning together and there were a lot of questions and discussion. Many shared their experience especially when it comes to topics on taking care of the sick people, pregnancy and drinking alcohol,” Maria said.

“It is good to see that the Penans have benefited from the programme. One example is that before the programme, many were not aware of the importance of a balance diet, basic health practices and hygiene awareness. But through the programme, they were taught the basics of a balance diet, simple health solutions and practices and hygienic practices,”

“It is also heart-warming to see some of the Penans have built temporary toilets in their villages after learning the importance of basic hygiene,” added Maria.

Layu, a Penan from Long Singu village said: “If I don’t take this opportunity to learn then I will never gain any knowledge. Money can be easily earned, but knowledge is difficult to obtain. Since I am given the chance, I will seize it.”

Another participant from Long Singu, Kasek Ngo said: “After attending the training, I learnt that I need to keep my kitchen clean at all times and dogs are not allowed in the room anymore.”

“We are extremely pleased with the Penans’ participative attitude. They have also expressed commitment that they will continue to practice basic hygiene and health practices learned through the programme even after they moved to their resettlement area,” said Joanne.

The ‘Good Health Begins at Home’ programme is only one of the many examples of numerous engagements and community gatherings that have been organised over recent years with the communities affected by the development of Murum HEP.

Training session at the new Long Wat Tegulang resettlement village

Training session at Long Luar (existing village)

Participants of the programme posing with their “Good Health Begins at Home” book together with Maria (left)

Young men learning the importance of hygiene and health

Cathrine Saging at her new kitchen at the new Long Wat in Tegulang resettlement village