Aid ProjectsCommunity ProjectsVillage Development

The Village Hub – When Factories Preserve the Environment

The Masarang Foundation is an Indonesian NGO dedicated to preserving nature through the empowerment of local people. It was initiated by Willie Smits, an environmental scientist, who dedicated over 30 years of his life preserving Borneo from deforestation.

By launching a very successful village hub, and a zero-waste and multi-cropping sugar palm factory, he has managed to improve the well-being of entire villages while generating enough resources to create long lasting abundance – a quintessential objective for permaculture practitioners.

The entire system revolves around one plant: the sugar palm, Arenga pinnata, not to be confused with oil palm! This self-sustained factory is the epitome of harvesting several functions from one element. Sugar, food, fuel, fertilizer, water, forest and wildlife conservation, electricity, education and improved health are some of the yields resulting from the creation of the village hub. A truly remarkable and inspirational design that begs to be emulated.


  1. Fantastic. Nothing is waste, it is just another by product that can be used for another purpose. It protects the native life style allowing them to live and thrive in their own environment. I hope that engineer makes millions on his idea and inventions. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I was very fortunate to have met Willie about 6 years ago when I stayed at Samboja eco-lodge in SouthEast Borneo. He is truly an environmental hero. To think his life’s dedication to proving reforesting can be done quickly and really sustainably is to make millions is hugely insulting. He is doing this to save the environment (think orangutans at the top and all else supporting beneath) and slow the exploitation that is going on In Borneo as in the rest of the world. He is an inspiration and should be much more famous!!!

    It was great to see in the video the progress Willie and his helpers have made, thanks for sharing this Keveen. I really do hope the ingenuity and can do approach can be emulated across SouthEast Asia and in other parts of the world to protect and repair the Earth in these places.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button