East Bali Poverty: Helping People to Help Themselves
Established in 1998 by Englishman David Booth, East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the lives of people from the mountain villages in east Bali. Forgotten by time and progress, thousands of disadvantaged people in 19 sub-villages were living in abject poverty without water, sanitation, roads, schools, health facilities and electricity. Malnutrition and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) were endemic, iodine being the essential nutrient for healthy children, aiding the development of the brain and body.
As the founder, David Booth created this foundation with solid visions forthe future. There are three main parts as his guideline:
- To empower illiterate and malnourished children through relevant education, improved nutrition, and basic stay-healthy principles;
- To reduce poverty and promote culturally sensitive, sustainable development within impoverished rural communities that have little or no choice to alleviate their own plight; and
- To harness human and natural resources for sustainable social and economic development , through reforestation of land devastated by the massive eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963, which denuded thousands of hectares. This will help to improve the living ecosystems, providing a sustainable food forest for the thousands of villagers, sustainable livelihoods for present and future, and ensure rain water is captured and conserved for the benefit of the land, nature, ecosystems, and, of course the people.
Carrying forward their mission to reduce poverty and promote culturally sensitive, sustainable social and economic development in the impoverished rural communities of East Bali, David believes that all programmes the team have created are designed as models that can be replicated and executed by local people, who then can directly transfer knowledge and appropriate technology within their communities.
The results speak for themselves. Since their first integrated education programme for illiterate children launched in August 1999, they have gained so many achievements, including: facilitating road access between Mount Agung and Mount Abang, sponsoring higher education for local children, building schools and libraries, providing micronutrient supplements for all children and mothers, giving education about health and initiating community health posts (Posyandu), facilitating clean water and the eventual construction of toilets for each and every family in the villages, providing electricity for remote villages ‘off the grid’, leveraging and preserving natural resources by developing a sustainable bamboo reforestation program on the eastern slopes of Mount Agung and Mount Abang, and the list goes on.
Looking ahead, their goal is to continue empowering the communities to address their problems at the grassroots level, funding this effort through their growing partnership with the private sector. They will rely heavily on emerging technologies to make efficient use of both local resources and funding contributions. They will also continue to refine their messaging and expand their visibility on the social media platforms to help forge new partnerships with technology and industry leaders, NGOs, researchers and volunteers.