Ni Komang Erviani , The Jakarta Post , Denpasar | Sat, 12/20/2008 12:11 PM | Bali
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika presented 200 desa pekraman (traditional customary villages) with a CBD (community-based development) endowment fund of Rp 20 billion.
Each village received Rp 100 million in cash to be used to finance community-based poverty eradication programs.
Of the village recipients, 21 are in Karangasem regency, 13 in Buleleng, 41 in Bangli, 15 in Klungkung, 40 in Gianyar, 40 in Tabanan, 29 in Badung and one in Denpasar.
The community-based poverty eradication programs will assist a total of 18,400 poor households across those villages.
The program, known as the CBD Bali Sejahtera initiative, was launched in 2001. The initiative has so far provided grants to 1,016 of Bali’s 1,453 desa pekraman.
Desa pekraman and banjar (traditional neighborhood organization) are among the most powerful community institutions in the province.
In previous years, the World Bank was the source of the grants. This year, however, the grants were taken from the province’s and regency’s annual budgets.
Pastika asked the leaders of the desa pekraman to use the grants efficiently and appropriately.
Earlier, he stressed that poverty eradication was the administration’s top priority, particularly since the island was facing the imminent impacts of the ongoing global financial crisis.
“Sooner or later, the crisis will affect us, so we had better be prepared for that period,” he said.
He said he expected the desa pekraman use the grants for financing vocational training and education programs, creating new job opportunities and improving health services.
“We hope the grants will give birth to community-based economics,” he said.
Deputy chief of the Grand Council of Desa Pekraman (MUDP), Agung Arnawa, praised the CBD Bali Sejahtera as an important initiative that would play a critical role in efforts to eradicate poverty in the island.
“The fact that the local customary communities are entrusted with managing and disbursing the grants has made the initiative an important step in transforming these communities into self-reliant institutions,” he said.
He said the fund’s disbursement methods would be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual recipients.
“If the recipients need seed money to set up a cottage industry, then we will provide them with the initial capital,” he said. “If they want to set up a cattle farm then we will supply them with calves.”