Impoverished Villages Selected for Pilot Project

DENPASAR

Five impoverished villages have been selected for a pilot project in the Bali government’s poverty-eradication programme.

The villages selected are Pejarakan and Lokapaksa in Buleleng, Bebandem in Karangasem, Pejukutan in Klungkung, and Songan B in Bangli. Each will receive investments and assistance worth Rp1 billion (US$110,000).

“The villages were selected for their high poverty levels. For example, Songan B village has a population of 1761 families, and 72.23 percent of them are living in poverty. The other four villages also have high poverty levels,” said Putu Astawa of the Bali Community and Village Empowerment Agency.

Almost have of the inhabitants in most of the villages were living in poverty, he said. A village is regarded as impoverished if over 35 percent of inhabitants are below the poverty line. There are currently 82 such communities in Bali, with a total 47,304 households living in poverty.

Astawa said that the pilot programme was the first step in the “Gerbang Sadhu” anti-poverty scheme announced by Governor I Made Mangku Pastika last year.

“The implementation of the programme with these five villages will provide us with valuable lessons and experiences that later on can be replicated in other villages,” he said.

The funding would be administered by officials and will be used for various purposes, he said.

“Only 20 percent of the funds can be used for infrastructure construction, such as building new roads or clean water facilities,” he said, adding that the rest of the cash would be used for development and economic betterment projects, with each community expected to set up its own local business co-operatives.

“A village could set up a pig farm or cow farm or any business that could bring financial profit and economic sustainability to the community,” he said.

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