Gerbang Emas Foundation of the Rural Development
“Arwanop is amazing, beautiful place with generous people” so they said on their impression of their trip to Arwanop, one of villages around PTFI Jobsite. Visiting a rural villages in Arwanop areas - the Omponi and Ainggogin villages – is a memorable experience.
A commuty event was held in early October to follow up the series of Gerbang Emas (acronym of Gerakan Kebangkitan Ekonomi Masyarakat Sejahtera/Economic Development Movement for Community Prosperity), a program that was initiated by Mimika Regency Government in cooperation with PT Freeport Indonesia last July.
On the first day (Friday, 2/10), activities kicked off with contests for schoolchildren including coloring, story-reading, and arithmetic contests as well as a composition contest on “My Ambition”. To encourage interest in reading, on this occasion books were donated to schools from the PTFI communities in Tembagapura and Jakarta. Bibles ere also presented to the schoolchildren. There are also plans to set up a reading room for schoolchildren as well as members of the community in general.
After the contests, school uniforms provided with funds from the Kampung Arwanop PNPM Mandiri Respek Program were distributed to schoolchildren, after which a promotional session on Clean and Healthy Living was presented. Schoolchildren were instructed on the importance of personal care, hygiene and grooming, primarily clipping of fingernails and toenails, brushing teeth, and hand-washing with soap. The schoolchildren were shown the proper way to brush teeth and wash hands, and were each presented with a hygiene kit consisting of soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, towel and nail clippers. It was hoped that early instruction for children would help them to acquire clean and healthy habits.
The community health and integrated services event in the village of Kampung Arwanop lasted until late afternoon, with the integrated team from LPMAK and Arwanop Ancillary Community Health Center (Puskesmas Pembantu) and trained cadres holding free health checkups for community members.
On the following day (Saturday, 3/10) it was the women’s turn to receive counseling. On this second day, activity was focused on empowering women. A Family Welfare Empowerment Movement Team (TP PKK) was set up for the villages if Arwanop and Ainggogin, and the stewards appointed, followed by promotion of 10 family welfare empowerment (PKK) programs. This campaign was aimed at optimizing the PKK organization to provide guidance and empower women in the villages. Local government funding for villages is also allocated for women’s empowerment activities under the coordination of the Village PKK. Programs put in place included spiritual guidance for women and youths, promotion of nine-year basic education and early childhood education (PAUD) at the village level, illiteracy eradication among women, creative industry empowerment through traditional Amungme handicrafts, reviving backyard medicinal gardens, cooking and baking lessons using local ingredients, and monthly integrated family welfare service activities. In a preliminary action, the Golden Gate team presented mamas or women with vegetables seeds for growing.
The baking with local ingredients session was guided by Tembagapura District PKK stewards and TLC representatives. In this activity, the team instructed village women on making assorted cakes and fritters from pumpkins (nagapulu) and yams (erom) as well as other vegetables. The mamas are expected to build up skills to create healthy and varied dishes. Training is also expected to stoke entrepreneurial enthusiasm among the mamas to sell cakes to earn extra income for their families.
TLC women from the Tembagapura community also participated by donating clothing and toys. The Caring for Papua community from Jakarta donated 200 T-shirts which were distributed among members of the communities. Through these simple acts of giving, the PTFI community hopes to weave closer ties with surrounding communities.
The team also seized this opportunity to tour the hamlets and observe coffee cultivation initiated by the PTFI Highland Agriculture Development (HAD) team. This program is now producing Amungme Gold Coffee that is currently widely marketed. The team is also assessing the hamlets for potential sustainable activities such as backyard or remote gardening for future livelihoods, to plant chayote, passion fruit, and pepino melons that highland farmers have successfully grown and which fellow farmers in the lowlands are unable to grow.
The communities were very pleased with the event organized by the PTFI, TLC and local administration teams, and acknowledged the care and concern directed at them.
“The villages in Arwanop are potential for a development in the future,” said one of the TLC lady upon arrival from Arwanop. “The human and natural resources need to be developed before it’s too late,” she continued.
Hopefully a similar event will be held too in other rural areas in Papua highland, with a special attention and good coordination of all parties – PTFI, local government, as well as central government so the education of the people could be monitored and give the best output towards rural development project in Papua. (Article and photos by ESK)
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