According to the Jakarta Post the COVID-19 “pandemic is ravaging the economy as the government expects 4 million people to fall below the poverty line this year, making for a total of 28 million poor in the nation, or around 10.6 percent of the population.” Already before the pandemic, poverty was on the rise in Bali. In the villages, with no surprise, the rate at which the number of poor was rising was higher as that of Bali’s urban areas. In remote village – and “remote” in Bali means an hour or two away from the glittering 5-star hotels – the residents are very poor and most villages lack education, access to clean water and even electricity. Many children must often walk for kilometers to go to school. The area of east Bali called Ban Village, where EBPP works and established education and health services, is one of those areas counting approximately 3,500 indigenous families (17,000 people) from different cultural-traditional backgrounds speaking 19 different dialects. The area is dispersed across an often inaccessible volcanic terrain and largely cut off from the rest of the island, with villagers trying to survive in their arid homeland. There are no good statistics on the 19 sub-villages until today. The vast majority of the population are subsistence farmers of cassava and corn or cattle farmers, with very few involved in paid employment (those mainly with the local government). In 2000, in collaboration with UNICEF Indonesia, EBPP conducted an assessment revealing that infant mortality averaged 30%, and 85% of children had goitre and were estimated to be malnourished. EBPP data from 2015 showed a 0% child mortality rate in the Ban village area, certainly a result of their work. However, stunting as a result of malnutrition remained a problem in these villages according to WHO growth charts. Adding to an already dire situation, in 2017, Mount Agung erupted, which resulted in the evacuation of many villagers impacting negatively their lives. As one result, from the EBPP project participants a number of girls dropped out of school and moved to Denpasar to start earning for their families. In August 2018, another three earthquakes destroyed many homes and buildings in 12 of the 19 communities of the Ban village worsening the situation for the population once more.
From its establishment in 1998, the mission of EBPP has been on sustainable poverty alleviation in response to the request by the population of six mountain hamlets with limited access to health or education services. EBPP runs 6 schools in 6 villages for young people and supports a rural population with information on health, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as the construction of infrastructure. It has initiated 27 Posyandu (mother and infant monthly health posts) and ensured that infants receive all immunizations, as well as vitamin supplements and nutritious porridge. EBPP has always prioritized working with children and youth as agents of change to give them the tools to educate their parents and communities. Children and young people’s participation is part of the programme model. As a result, integrated and collaborative village-based development projects for young people and their communities were strengthened over the years and built around the philosophy of “helping people to help themselves”. All programmes are designed as models that are implemented by local people who transfer knowledge and skills directly to their communities.
EMpower’s 5th grant to Yayasan Ekoturisme Indonesia (East Bali Poverty Project, EBPP) will enable the organisation to continue to run its holistic programme for the empowerment of young people, which will benefit 151 young people (aged 12-24, 77 male and 74 female).
The programme will empower young people, new and returning students, with a mix of intensive and participatory activities: 1) To promote secondary school completion (e.g. regular classes), social connections (e.g. via a newly to be established Student Council), leadership skills (e.g. via a village-wide photo campaign) as well as the acquisition of 21st century skills (e.g. computer skills, English language skills), 2) To promote gender equality, prevent child/early marriage and sexual harassment as well as to advance health (e.g. via participation in SRHR and nutrition classes or in participatory research projects). This tailor-made offer for new and returning students is coupled with extracurricular activities (like field trips or cooking classes).
This time, the programme will put a much stronger emphasis on creating a protective and enabling environment for young people in working more intentionally with parents (e.g. via a newly to be established Parents Committee to get more parental understanding and support e.g. on the importance of school completion), village leaders and government officials (e.g. with regards to gender equality and customary laws taking a clear stand against school dropout and child/early marriage).
To be better equipped to strengthen the programme model even more over time, a small team, including 4 young people from our programme will also go on an exchange study tour to learn from a peer organisation that does similar work to EBPP but is more advanced in certain areas as e.g. prevention of child/early marriage or parents and communities engagement.
Primary Location: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Funded Since: 2015
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