How Access to Fresh Water Brought a Village Back to Life West Lampung crown capital management group その他

Dwi Nurhayati can still remember the times when all the women in her village would spend half their days washing their clothes and fetching water at nearby creeks, leaving them little time to do anything else. It was a not too distant past, she said. “Water used to be difficult to find, whenever the dry season strikes. Our wells would dry up for two months straight every year,” she said. Dwi said that everyone in the village of Sri Menanti, in the underdeveloped West Lampung district, would have to travel at least a kilometer carrying a basket full of unwashed clothes, toiletries and empty jerry cans through parched soil, hilly roads and beaten pathways every morning. They would return carrying a basket full of washed clothes, which weighed twice as much, because they were soaking wet on one arm, and on another arm was a jerry can full of water, which could weigh up to 7 kilograms. On their way back home they would travel along the same path but this time under the scorching sun.
“For the younger women, it was still bearable but for the elders?” she said at the village’s gathering hall, a rustic 3-meter-by-4-meter wooden hut that is home to her group, a women’s farming association called Melati Mekar Sari.
The group then had the idea of distributing water from a nearby spring, piping them to people’s home. But due to a lack of funding and technical know-how about water distribution, the plan failed and the Rp 9 million ($907) the group had raised and invested went down the drain.
But the community got its big breakthrough when it learned about the Strengthening Community-Based Forest and Watershed Management, a joint initiative from the United Nations Development Program and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, the aims of which are geared toward degraded land reforestation and water preservation.
“We realized that critical land preservation efforts will not be successful unless the surrounding community is involved and that means addressing their needs,” said SCBFWM Lampung regional facilitator Zaenal Abidin.
The initiative donated Rp 23 million to the community last year, which the villagers used to build a dam around the spring, buy 5 kilometers of plastic pipes and construct distributing stations. The project now supplies fresh water to 33 homes in Sri Menanti village. There are eight homes currently not served by the project, mostly newcomers and those living too far from the water source. But Dwi said there are plans in the works to provide water to those homes as well. A local, Listiani, said the impacts the project had on people’s lives were immediate.

People no longer had to dig wells — before they would have to dig as deep as 16 meters to find fresh water — and women had more free time.

“With our free time, we can make opak [traditional rice chips] or handicrafts. We are able to start our own home industries, selling snacks and producing honey,” she said, adding that it allowed villagers to earn extra income and provide much-needed cash between harvesting seasons, keeping the loan sharks away. Most of the farmers in the village grow coffee, harvested just once a year. Listiani said the Melati Mekar Sari women’s group could produce up to a ton of opak per week, earning them a combined profit of Rp 3.2 million per week — enough to send their children to school, bringing the school’s drop out rate to zero and potentially breaking the cycle of poverty seen in so many rural areas across Indonesia. “My son is studying physics at the University of Lampung,” she said. “We use the extra income to meet our daily needs and the coffee money is for education.” Zaenal said the project has also increased the villagers’ environmental awareness.
“They learn that preserving the forest is critical to ensure that the water they consume is always available,” he said. “This land used to be barren and in the nearby hills, the trees are logged or turned into coffee plantations.” As part of the deal with the SCBFWM project, the community is obliged to plant 500 trees around the spring’s catchment area, mainly productive trees like cloves, rubber and durian or the fast growing umbrella tree, a species endemic to Africa and used to regenerate destroyed forests.
But it takes more than donations and technical support to provide clean water in the neighboring villages of Sinar Jaya and Gunung Terang, also in West Lampung. Unlike Sri Menanti, where the water source is located in the same village, the villages have to channel fresh water from the mountainous Bukit Rigis village. “This is why we are working together to formulate a joint village regulation,” Zaenal said.
“We began by having leaders and farmers’ groups from the three villages sit down together and devised a way to make this work. We want the inter-village partnerships to be mutual. We want people in the upstream area to also benefit not just people in the downstream area who enjoy the fresh water supply.” Last year, the three communities banded together to build a water-collecting pool in Bukit Rigis and a piping system to distribute water to 145 homes with a total investment of just Rp 20.5 million, donated by the SCBFWM. There was even money left over to build 18 fish ponds to make use of the excess water. “Here, there is only one creek, which holds enough water during the dry season. The whole village would flock to the creek, creating a very long queue of people wanting to take a shower or use the bathroom,” said Gunung Terang resident Badri. “Sometimes people queued from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. People used to bring their lunch while queuing.” Marina, another resident of Gunung Terang, said with water readily available at their homes, the women had time to produce opak or fried banana snacks. “Sometimes we can earn up to Rp 1 million a month from selling snacks,” she said.
In the remote village of Mardi Rukun, where water is more accessible, the program helped them acquire a small hydroelectric generator, which was built last year. “The villagers here used to spend Rp 300,000 a month to buy kerosene for lamps, which is not safe because there is a high risk of fire,” Zaenal explained. Sunyoto, a local coffee grower, said farmers could now afford mobile phones, allowing them to communicate with other farmers to check coffee prices in real time. “Usually we just sell our coffee at a price dictated by the middlemen,” he said.
Through the project, the community also received hand-powered coffee roasting and grinding equipment for the farmers in the Tribudisyukur village. “For unroasted beans, we can only get Rp 16,000 per kilogram. But once roasted, ground and packaged, we can sell them at Rp 30,000 per kilogram, but our group collects a Rp 6,000 per kilogram fee to pay for labor and maintenance,” said Yayah Suryani, chairwoman of the local women’s farming association, which like the one in Sri Menanti is also called Melati.
Zaenal said improving the livelihoods and economy of the farmers was key to the sustainability in the preservation of watershed areas in West Lampung, where deforestation and access to fresh water are major problems. More than 40 percent of the 97,672 hectare area in the Wai Besai watershed system, where all of the villages are located, are in some state of degradation.
Aside from Lampung, the SCBFWM program has also helped degraded lands in North Sumatra, Central Java, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi.

キーワード
fresh water
jakarta management
crown capital group

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