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.


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.


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

Papuan Tree Kangaroo Made Its Appearance in West Papuan Jungle after 90 Years of Hiding

Almost a century, Wondiwoi tree kangaroos disappears from the wild and many think this species is extinct. Not long ago, he came out of hiding and for the first time its form was captured.

The first and last tree kangaroo was seen in 1928 by the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr. He saw it in the Wondiwoi mountains, West Papua. Mayr shot the only specimen known so far and sent it to Natural History in London. In 1933, this species was identified as Dendrolagus Mayri. Since that incident, local residents had never reported the presence of these species.

Curiosity about the disappearance of a tree kangaroo made Michael Smith an amateur botanist from England leading an expedition through the dense bamboo forest in the Wondiwoi Mountains, West Papua, Indonesia.

The man from Farnham, England planned an expedition after hearing about mysterious animals while exploring the mountains of West Papua in 2017. With the help of four Papuan porters, a local hunter who acted as guide and Norman Terok, students at the University of Papua in Manokwari, the expedition began on July 23.

A week later this group reported their findings. When found, this monkey-like kangaroo is perched on a tree. Frustrated, Smith immediately took a picture of the Wondiwoi kangaroo for the first time. Before being published, Smith sought input from tree kangaroo experts including Mark Eldridge, a marsupial biologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney and Roger Martin from James Cook University.

“This is one of the most unknown mammals in the world. The species is still there, it’s amazing. The mountains are remote and difficult to access,” said Eldridge who was not involved in the expedition.

Tree Kangaroos are tropical marsupials that are close relatives of kangaroos and wallabies which live on land. Tree Kangaroo has forearm muscles to pull its body to the trunk and move around the branches by climbing and jumping.

He was found in a forest full of bamboo shrubs at an altitude of 1,500-1,700 meters. At this height, the expedition team began a distinctive stroke on the trunk left by tree kangaroos, occasionally their feces.

“We can also smell the kangaroos left behind,” Smith said.

But the difficulty faced by the expedition team was to find their physical realities. Although the weight of tree kangaroos reaches 16 kilograms, they are hard to find and covered in dense forests. A time-consuming and tiring search almost made the team desperate. Luckily, on the last day the team saw a kangaroo from a distance of 30 meters.

“After trying to find a way to take pictures, I finally got the right moment to capture the kangaroo who was peeking from behind the leaves,” Smith said.

Team Flannery, from the University of Melbourne Australia, revealed that the findings were a major breakthrough. “The pictures are clear and show typical feather colors,” said the team.

The number of tree kangaroos in Papua is decreasing due to over hunting, logging, oil palm plantations, and also mining. Luckily the Wondiwoi tree kangaroos lives in dense bamboo forests that are difficult to reach. Before finding it, Smith’s team had to cut the line. For now they are saved from various threats. The priority that needs to be done now is to collect feces or pieces of tissue of this creature to extract DNA and compare it with the DNA of the species found in 1928.


Ellen Aragay, First Papuan to Represent Indonesia in International Beauty Pageant

Ellen Rachel Aragay, a West Papuan English teacher, represents Indonesia in the Face of Beauty International 2018 in India, 7-17 September 2018. She was the first runner up of the 2014 Miss Indonesia and by participating in the beauty contest, she hopes to bring campaign to stop domestic abuse.

“We will campaign on how to stop violence against women both in the household and in relationships,” Ellen told Ata Hasegem, who interviewed her for BBC Indonesia.

The Face of Beauty International was known as Miss Teen Face of Beauty International and first held in 2012. This contest aims to share the visions and ideas of women throughout the world, according to her who was an alumni of International Miracle Institute in Florida. She also competed in the last ASEAN Basketball Cup in 2018.

Her experiences as a teacher also give her an important role to elevate education in Papua particularly through English education.

According to Ellen, her participation in the beauty contest confirms that Papuan or Melanesian are equal to other people.

“We are the same, have competitiveness, achievement, and creativity that are not inferior to other people in the world. Like intellectual intelligence and the ability to socialize,” she said.

Ellen said that her participation in this contest was also a kind of personal achievement. She told that she was once a victim of bullying when she was in junior high school because of her physical appearance. Because of that, she once didn’t want to go to school for about three months. But then she used it as a motivation for her success.

“I struggled, Then I was able to I graduated with good grades. So I proved,” she said while laughing.


Source: BBC Indonesia