Electricity now Reaches Kwaebandan Village in Papua

Illustration: Electricity reaches Kampung Enem, Mappi, Papua

JAKARTA – The Bright Papua Expedition (Ekspedisi Papua Terang – EPT) carried out by the State Electricity Company (PT PLN Persero) has shown the results. Kwaedamban Village, Borme District, Pegunungan Bintang Regency, is now currently electrified.

Based on a report from PLN, a total of 36 houses in Kwaebandan Village have now been electrified from a hydro power plant (Piko Hidro) with a capacity of 1 kilo watt (KW) which was built near the village.

“Thanks to PLN, Thanks also to students who have participated in the Bright Papua Expedition. Our appreciation for the efforts that have been made, including support from the community, traditional leaders and the local regional government who are both hand in hand,” said the Deputy for Energy, Logistics, Regional and Tourism Affairs at the Ministry of State Enterprises (BUMN), Edwin Hidayat Abdullah in a written statement received in Jakarta, Monday (10/29).

According to Edwin, the Ministry continues to encourage the optimal role of PLN to provide electricity to the community, especially by utilizing natural potentials as electric energy sources.

“Hopefully it will be followed by other villages in Papua. The Ministry of BUMN continues to provide support and ensure that other villages in the Papua and West Papua regions will also be electrified,” said Edwin.

In addition PLN will also provide electricity in the Borme District by increasing the capacity of existing power plants or adding new power plants that utilize river water flow in the region.

Thus, the presence of electricity in both the Kwaedamban Village and the Borme District will stimulate the economic of the local community. In addition to lighting in homes, electricity  will be used for lighting in public facilities such as schools, hospitals, places of worship and channeled to support communication services in the local area.

PLN General Manager of Papua and West Papua Region (WP2B), Ari Dartomo said, at this time the expedition team is verifying data provided by PLN WP2B to get accurate data.

Roads for Communities

Yulia Indri Sari and Erman Rahman / THE JAKARTA POST


Trans-Papua roads connecting Wamena-Habema-Kenyam-Mumugu. Source: Viva.co.id

The government has prioritized infrastructure development in Papua and West Papua provinces, particularly to improve road connectivity. It has been argued that connectivity brings numerous potential livelihood opportunities to indigenous Papuans and improves access to other basic services and social interaction.

The Asia Foundation, in partnership with the Indonesian institute of Sciences (LIPI), recently conducted a rapid assessment of two road routes between Sorong and Manokwari in West Papua, and between Jayapura and Wamena in Papua to measure implications of road construction for the Papuans well-being.

Most national and trans-Papua roadshave been built since the New Order Era. But according to drivers and regular road users interviewed, road conditions have significantly improved since 2014. Access to Bintuni from Manokwari; to Sausapor from Sorong in West Papua; and to Elelifrom Abenaho in Papua, for instance, have undergone continuous improvements in the last four years, including through road soil compaction, construction of bridges and paving with asphalt.

Drivers of Hilux taxis (four-wheel-drive cars) no longer worry about getting stuck over night when it rains as unpaved dirt roads (the “red roads”) have been compacted. In other road sections, even smaller cars have replaced Hilux – reflecting relatively good pavement. Even ojek (motorcycletaxis) and regular modes of public transportation like angkot (minivans) and Damri government buses are operating – which to Papuans are the ultimate signs of better roads.

These public transportation optionsreduce their travel time and costs. In Pelebaga, Jayawijaya regency,mama (women) used to carry one noken (Papuan Basket) of farm produce on foot for one to two hours to get to the market and another four to five hours on their way back uphill. After the upgrading of the Wamena-Habema road segment, ojek and taxis became available to them. Now, the women can hire taxis at a cost of Rp 20,000 (US$1.30), with a travel time of only 15 to 30 minutes, and double their sales to two noken full of produce, increasing profits by Rp50,000 to Rp 100,000.

Mama living in coastal and-relatively urbanized areas are more able to benefit from this new opportunity.They have started expanding the market for their agricultural produce to farther and larger urban centers such as Sorong, Jayapura and Manokwari. This has increased their incomes by Rp. 150,000 to Rp. 300,000 per week.

However, most of them spend their additional income on consumable goods. Improved connectivity has significantly increased the accessibility of Papuans to goodssuch as rice, soap, flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate, instant noodles, cigarettes, salt, “colored” drinks and various snacks, as well as construction materials.

New merchants, mostly migrants, are the ones more ready to seize the opportunity and bring these goods to the communities. Some villagers also collectively rent cars to purchase consumable goods and construction materials at lower prices in the nearest urban centers. The implication is a more significant need for cash to buy all these goods.

Increased connectivity and household demand for cash – complemented by increased village budgets (over Rp 1 billion per village on average) that have been used mostly for housing – have increased demand for construction materials, particularly wood.And here lies the problem: men respond to the situation by cutting down more trees and selling them mostly to outsider log traders who finance them. They have also become more dependent on government social assistance and projects.

Lack of support for other types of local economic development has limited the alternative livelihoods available to them, other than utilizing natural resources. Better road connectivity, understandably, also leads to utilization of land along the roads for new villages and agricultural land. Hence, more trees are being, or will be, cut down.

Trans-Papua roads connecting Wamena-Habema-Kenyam-Mumugu. Source: Viva.co.id

Fortunately,such environmental degradation has not been amplified by significantly increased large private investment. Hence, only existing extractive industries already operating in the two provinces have mostly become better off (and degraded the environment) by utilizing the improved connectivity.

Socially,indigenous Papuans enjoy improved connectivity as families meet more often. But they are also wary of the impact of roads on the influx of migrants. While they consider migrants an integral part of their daily lives – selling them basic needs, providing cheaper and faster modes of transportation, buying the produce and wood they sell and providing skilled labor for construction work – Papuans have also expressed concern over the migrants greater ability to seize the economic opportunities presented by connectivity improvements.

In some highland areas, this has led to restrictions on migrant sellers and the operating hours of migrant ojek drivers.

However, indigenous Papuans speak profoundly on the importance of the roads to access health,education and population administration services, provided mainly in the urban centers.

Our rapid assessment also found positive consequences of improved connectivity inthe quality of health services.

In Wamena, this has given local health clinic staff a better sense of security, hence encouraging longer service hours. However, in education the opposite has happened; teachers have a perverse incentive to leave schools to move to the urban centers instead.

The rapid assessment suggests there is room to reconsider infrastructure development strategies in Papua and West Papua.

The most important infrastructure in the two provinces is the roads connecting where indigenous Papuans live in the villages with the municipality and regency capitals where basic services are mainly provided.

This should be complemented by improving basic services. Including support to improve micro-sale agriculture that would gradually increase the production level from subsistence to a level that can improve food (and nutrition) security at the local levels – a strategy to support the visions of the two provinces to promote sustainable development, as discussed at the international conference on biodiversity, creative economy and ecotourism in Manokwari on Oct. 7 to 10.

The mainstream approach of improving inter-regency and inter-province connectivity, aiming for increased large private investment, does not seem suitable to these two provinces.

With current roads in better shape, gradual improvement of human development indicators, rather than economic growth, should now be the main development target in Papua and West Papua. As one Papuan warned, “we need infrastructure for communities, not commodities”.

This article is originally published on The Jakarta Post, written by Yulia Indri Sari, who has completed her doctoral research on community driven development in Papua for the Australian National University in Canberra and Erman Rahman who holds a Master’s degree in transportation and is senior director for programs at The Asia Foundation. Please contact us should you wish to share your opinion.

Papua Province Exhibits Prehistoric Discoveries

Illustration: Prehistoric human skeleton in South Sulawesi. Source: Detik.com

The Papuan Archeology Center is holding an archaeological exhibition at Saga Mall, Abepura District, Jayapura, from 23 to 25 October 2018, to introduce historical and prehistoric discoveries to public.

The manager of archeology data at the Papuan Archaeological Center Adi Dian Setiawan who is also the chairman of the exhibition committee in Jayapura City, said Monday that the actor was open to the public, not limited by age.

“The objective of this exhibition is to showcase the results of archeological research in Papua to the wider community,” he said while accompanied by senior researcher Hari Suroto and colleagues from the Papua Archeology Institute when arranging a number of objects to be exhibited.

According to him, other objectives of the exhibition were to provide an explanation to the public about the importance of historical and prehistoric remains in Papua.

“This exhibition is also to receive any information from the community whether there are potential archeological remains in certain areas to be followed up to do research and so on,” he said.

Furthermore, the alumni of Gajah Mada University revealed that the exhibitions objects includes photographs of the research in the field, also colonial and prehistoric artifacts.

“From the colonial era we have bottles, bullets and relics from World War II, whereas from prehistoric times we have pottery, bones, skulls, then fossil shells,” he said.

In addition, continued Adi, there was one miniature unit of the escaping box that was exhibited along with other historical and prehistoric objects.

“We want to show how archaeological research is carried out, one of which is the excavation methodology to get original data from the ground,” he said.

Excavation, he said, is a method of obtaining data by digging up land that is believed to have historical or prehistoric value, using information from local residents.

In line with the statement, the Head of the Papuan Archeology Center Gusti Made Sudarmika said there were still many studies carried out by his party but not yet known by a wide audience.

“If people know about the importance of the research and understand what archeology is, usually they will provide information and the community can help in preserving historical and prehistoric remains, because they already understand its importance,” he said.

Source: Antaranews.com

Papua Provincial Government Prepares Aid of 4.2 Billion for Palu

Papua Governor sent a team of health workers to help victims and survivors in disaster-hit areas in Central Sulawesi

The Papua Provincial Government is preparing aid of IDR 4.2 billion (USD 280,000) for victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Palu, Sigi and Donggala, Central Sulawesi. Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in Jayapura on Thursday said the aid was collected not only by the provincial government, but also by the districts and cities in Papua.

Earlier this week, Papua Provincial Government also sent a medical team to help victims and survivors in disaster-hit areas in Central Sulawesi.

“Today (18/10) we assembled a team from Papua to go to Palu to hand over the cash assistance in accordance with what was conveyed to President Joko Widodo when met some time ago,” he explained.

He hoped that people of Palu, Sigi, and Donggala affected by the disaster will be quickly recovered, the damaged infrastructure will soon be rebuilt, and the local government will resume normal activities and serve the community.

“We are optimistic that the Central Sulawesi Provincial Government and the Indonesian Government are able to solve everything, despite the earthquake that is indeed a major problem for Indonesia,” he said.

He explained that Indonesia is prone to earthquakes, so that all parties should think about how to build earthquake-resistant infrastructure, because if not, the people would continue to be victims.

In line with Lukas Enembe, Acting Head of the Papua Province Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), William R. Manderi, said that on Sunday (10/21), the team of six people would leave for Palu to hand over the funds, led by the Assistant for Government Affairs of the Papua Provincial Secretariat, Doren Wakerwa.

Source: Antaranews.com

Papua Sends Medical Team to Palu

By Nethy Dharma Somba / The Jakarta Post

Papua Deputy Governor Klemen Tinal helps put a uniform vest on a health worker.

(Jayapura, Fri, 12/10). The Papua administration has dispatched a medical team to Palu, Central Sulawesi, to provide medical services following a strong earthquake and tsunami that impacted the region.

The team, comprising 10 medical workers, two Social Agency officials as well as two Papua Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) officials, departed for Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Thursday, and will continue their journey to Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu from there.

Papua Health Agency head Aloysius Giay said the team was taking medical supplies for diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infections, as well as food supplies.

“The team will stay in Palu for 10 days,” Aloysius said, adding that they would be focused on healthcare services.

“As we all know, there are many diseases that afflict people after disasters,” he added.

Previously, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said the province would donate Rp 4 billion (US$ 263,032) to help with reconstruction.

Source: The Jakarta Post

The Reflection of Papua

Indonesia, to be precise Papua, contains immense beauty of its nature, the local’s traditions that have been passed through generations and the local wisdoms that now play significant roles on our life through global interaction that are barely known among us.

Poriaman Sitanggang, a photographer that have been photographing Indonesia for almost 32 years and went to many remote areas of Indonesia and visiting its corners just held an exhibition in Oslo, Norway, on 25-27 September 2018. He exhibited photos taken from 1994 to 2018.

The exhibition is entitled “Voyage to the Rising Sun: Papua, Indonesia” and made possible by The Embassy Of The Republic Of Indonesia Oslo, Norway and PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk (ANJ).

There are 35 photos containing the nature of Papua, the culture and life of indigenous peoples in Papua, especially the Dani and Asmat, which were taken by Poriaman during 1994-2018.

“It’s all over Papua from Merauke at the very east of Papua, then Asmat at the south, going up to Wamena, then down to Sorong at the western Papua. I am inspired by the people I met who accepted me warmly. They shared their rich tribal culture and indigenous wisdom.  I felt very welcomed. It was my privilege and honour to take their pictures.” He said

An artistic way to welcome guest. The wonderful people of Awaire, South Sorong, Papua Indonesia.

To put it in the geographical context, Papua is one of the biggest province in Indonesia situated in the western part on New Guinea Islands. It is 74,000 km2 bigger than Norway (Papua Indonesia 459,411 km2 vs Norway 385,203 km2). Papua is rich of gas, oil, and gold resources in Indonesia. It also has one of the largest rain forest.

Through the pictures of the “Voyage to the Rising Sun: Papua, Indonesia,”  Poriaman Sitanggang brought back our picturesque memories of living close to the nature and living by the local wisdoms.

Warrior from the Sagu forest of South Sorong, Papua Indonesia.

The Papuans, as captured on Poriaman’s camera,  carves our awareness about how shall we protect our forest and our diversity for our future generations.

Source: Zoomx.co

Cash Incentive to Improve Condition of Malnourished Children

By Gisela Swaragita / THE JAKARTA POST

Agats, Papua

To combat poverty and improve children’s nutrition intake, the Papua administration will give cash incentives to families with children under 4 years of age in the regencies of Asmat, Lanny Jaya and Paniai. The grant is given under a pilot program named Bangga Papua (Papua’s pride) and financed through the special autonomy fund.

According to Heracles Lang, who designed the cash aid program, every toddler living in one of the three regencies and born after january 2015 to a parent of the Melanesian race is eligible for the grant.

“We chose the three regencies, because they are the ones with the most severe poverty,” Heracles told The Jakarta Post after a monitoring visit in Agats, the capital district of Asmat, on sept. 23.

Heracles is the special autonomy improvement head of KOMPAK, an Indonesian-Australian government program for human development.

The three regencies have become models of geographical challenges that often hamper social security programs in the province. Asmat is located by the shore of the Arafura Sea, while Lannya Jaya and Paniai are in the mountains.

According to Asmat Regent Decree No.149/2018 on Bangga Papua, 50 percent of the children of Melanesia live below the poverty line. In early 2018, Asmat regency was under international scrutiny after almost 80 children died of malnutrition.

Heracles said the grant was designed especially to address the nutrition problem, so that parents could buy nutritious and diverse food to improve their chidren’s diet.

He said every eligible child would receive Rp 200,000 (US$13.43) every month through bank transfer. The first transfer, to be conducted in early December, will be for an accumulated nine-month worth of grants. Afterwards, funds will be received every month until the child turns 4 years old.

Heracles said the Bangga Papua team had worked since November 2017 to register all of the eligible children in the three regencies. The names were then reported to Bank Papua, which created accounts for each children.

To ease the money withdrawal from the bank, on the transfer day, Bank Papua personnel will be deployed to each districts in the regency with military escort to deliver the money.

The program prioritizes mothers over fathers to withdraw the money from the bank.

Heracles said all of the eligible children in Asmat had been registered, while the registry teams in teams in Lanny Jaya and Paniai were still working to complete the list.

Bangga Papua has received much criticism, with people saying such funding would only make the poor lazier and more dependent. Many have also expressed concern that the parents, especially the fathers, may forcefully take the cash from the mother and spent it on cigarettes, areca nuts, alcohol, prostitution or even drugs.

Vivi Yulaswati, the director of poverty eradication from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), said according to studies cash incentives for social protection should amount to between 16 percent and 25 percent of income per capita to have the desired impact without creating dependency. “We have calculated that the amount of the grant is within the safe range,” she said.

She added that Bangga Papua also helped the government complete the civil registry, which was deemed extremely difficult for Papua.

“Around 79 districts here do not have (civil registry) data. This is a good trick, as through this program, Asmat has registered around 11,200 children. Thus, we can have the data of the people here by name and by address,” Vivi said.

Papua is one of the provinces receiving special autonomy funds. The funds have been granted since 2001 and are planned to continue until 2021, with the hope that Papua can catch up in terms of development with other provinces of Indonesia.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Community Gardens Nourish Asmat Children

By Gisela Swaragita / THE JAKARTA POST

Agats, Papua

Cream of the crop: A woman in Cumnew village in Akat district, Asmat, rinses dirt of water spinach she harvested from a community garden. Adopting the practice of growing vegetables has seen a more diverse range of food included in the diets of Asmat children, helping prevent malnutrition.

Under the supervision of local churches and the government, residents of Akat district in Asmat region, Papua, have planted vegetables in their  house yards and on cleared land. The crops have enriched their diet, which was mainly based on wild tuberous roots and game.

Chatolic priest Vesto Fransiskus Benediktus Labi Maing, the local supervisor of the program, said the people of Akat district had a long history of being hunter-gatherers, surviving on fish, wild boar, sago and taro for centuries.

The district, located on peatland around an hour boat ride from Agats, the capital district of Asmat regency, is home to an estimated 3,000 people living in 11 villages. Vesto said many of the resident’s livelihoods depend on natural resources and that they spend the majority of the year living nomadically in the jungle. The nomads only return to village to celebrate Christmas, Easter and Independence Day.

“The first time I came here as a frater (brother) in the late 1990s, the only vegetables they ate were cassava leaves and wild water spinach that they collected from the jungle,” he said during an interview in Agats after a monitoring visit on Sunday, Sept. 23.

During his early missionary days in Akat, he realized that among the hunter-gatherers there were several people who had cultivated their lands using simple agricultural techniques for family consumption.

“Because I was born into a farmer’s family in flores, I felt like it as my calling to help them develop their farming to increase production,” he said.

In 2016, Vesto helped the residents of Ayam village in Akat to clear some land and organize community gardens. Now the gardening programs have expanded to Cumnew, Waw, Bayiw Pinam and Jewes villages, which are all within Akat district.

In march, the program was picked up by an initiative called Landasan, a joint program for human development between the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) and the Australian Embassy.

George Corputty, a program manager of Landasan, said the organic gardening program started by Vesto had saved the cildren of Akat from the malnutrition disaster that killed almost 80 children in Asmat region in early 2018.

“The data from the local public health center (Puskesmas) showed that there were no malnourished children in Akat district. When we saw that they had vegetable garden centers, we though that it might have been what saved them,” George said. He also said that the peatlands in Akat became and advantage for gardening in the regency, as most settlements in Asmat were built on muddy shores or among mangroves.

George said Landasan has since then helped the village by supplying seeds, gardening tools and profesional training.

Vesto said the five villages now cultivated various green vegetables besides water spinach such as yard-long beans, red and green spinach, and Chinese cabbage. The district also become one of the main suppliers of green vegetables in Asmat. The vegetables are all cultivated using organic methods without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

“We can only use natural fertilizers so that it won’t pollute the water and the land. The lives of the people here depend on the natural eco system,” George said.

Vesto added that the gardeners used to obtain natural fertilizers from wild chicken nests in the jungle.

Vivi Yulaswati, the director of poverty eradication at Bappenas, said the initiative had been effective in ensuring the children in Asmat had more diverse food in their diets.

“Nutrition is a concern for the government, because the data shows that stunting has increased recently despite being successfully lowered in 2013,” she said. She went on to say that studies had proven that vegetables gardening centers were not an effective way to solve mass malnutrition.

Astrid Kartika, the human development unit manager at the Australian Embassy, said adopting gardening practices helped children stay in their villages and go to school, instead of being taken into the jungles by their parents to live as nomads.

“We do not want to change their culture as nomads, we do not have the rights to do that,” she said. “However when the kids are at school, it is easier to give them immunizations to prevent out breaks like the measles disaster that happened in early 2018.”

Source: The Jakarta Post