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A Brief Look Project 2012/2015 West Manggarai, Flores, NTT
Sent: 04 March 2015

Development Intervention

A new project in a cooperation with EWDE, Germany, local government and local instutions is being implemented in West Manggarai District of Flores Island, NTT. Under the Project No. 2012.0394 G, title: Community based integrated rural development and small-scale economic development in West Manggarai District, Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) , Indonesia.

The surveys were conducted with a team of DPF, key actors of local community, and local government district of West Manggarai in early August and September 2012. Planning has involved the prospective project participants.  The project beneficiaries will be involved in almost all stages of the project. In the stage of project planning and design; The project has been designed on the basis of needs assessments and analyses in which the target groups and other key actors have actively taken part; the results of these analyses have been extensively discussed with them before being validated. A depth of analysis could be achieved by establishing linkages with local institutions in Flores NTT. The first phase of this project is implemented in a period of 3 (three) years, which began in early 2013 until late 2015.

West Manggarai District covers an area of 9,450.00 km2. Of the total area, the total land area which consists of Flores Island, Komodo Island, Rinca Island, Longos Island, and several other small islands are 2,947.50 km2, while the total sea area is 6,052.50 km2.

The climatic and topographic conditions in the districts are dry (4 months of rainfall; dry season of six months). It is a hilly island and land degradation has become widespread because of intensive cultivation and poorly adapted agricultural practices such as slash and burn. Water is very scarce in the dry season.
It is a hilly region with low rainfall and poor irrigation facilities. Conditions are however slightly more favourable because of less erosion and more fertile lands; measures against erosion such as terracing are however not that well applied. Moreover, much quite fertile land is still left uncultivated.

Most farmers apply a mixed farming system, but without a high degree of integration between farming and livestock activities. Slash and burn cultivation practices were rampant in the area till a few years ago and have led to a degradation of the forest. Nevertheless, forest products remain an important source of income for a part of the population.

Community rebuttal to mining

The community has staged a rebuttal action to large-scale mining in West Manggarai which they feared will contaminate the waters around Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park (KNP).
The mining industry brings negative impact on the quality of sea water chemistry and biology. If there is a significant adverse change in the quality of sea water, it can harm all aquatic flora and fauna such as fish and other marine life including coral reefs.

If the disposal of wastewater or tailings in the process of separating soil and gold is flowed into the sea, and the ocean currents move to wherever directions, it will inevitably pollute the sea water around Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park. It will eventually penetrate the waters of Bima in NTB and Flores Sea. It is feared that the waters around Labuan Bajo and the KNP will be polluted by the mud that will bring negative consequences on the quality of seawater chemistry and biology.

Tourism: Untapped potential

The decline in oil and gas production is the other reason that requires the government to develop tourism industry to earns bigger foreign exchange. One of the international renowned tourism destination is Komodo National Park (TNK) with komodo (Varanus komodoensis or Ora in Manggarai language) as its main object interest.

Komodo National Park is located in West Manggarai District, at the heart of Komodo Island and Rinca Island. This place is able to attract 29,330 tourists on average each year in 2004—2007 period, which consists of 17,022 foreign visitors and 12,308 domestic visitors (Diparbud West Manggarai 2007).

The West Manggarai natural beauty should become a resource to improve its people welfare, by which most of them are living in poverty. However, up to now the community is not prepared to take advantage of the tourism sector.

In one hand, there is mismanagement of forest exploitation (illegal logging) and the environment because of poverty and the inhabitants surrounding forests are not offering any solution to the economic difficulties of the community. In the other hand, the forests and the environment offered wide range potential for the development of eco and community-tourism to improve the welfare and lifting people out of poverty. However, the community is not prepared to play a role in tourism industry while the tourism objects have not been prepared to accommodate tourists.



Map 01: West Manggarai District, Flores Island of NTT

Living conditions of the poor

Mabar (West Manggarai) is no doubt still trap in the poverty cycle, and the underdevelopment of access to education makes people stay below the poverty line with very minimal human resources. Although formal education infrastructure has been built in every sub-districts, it can not guarantee that people get an equitable education, not to mention the high cost of formal education hamper many people to get education because they are unable to pay the tuition, which is Rp.75.000/month for Elementary school, Rp.600.000/year for Junior High School, and Rp. 1.200.000/year for High School. It is beyond their reach. Their financial condition is unable to match the high cost of education. The difficult economic situation led to a tendency for people to get married at an early age, farming with little knowledge, generally lack of formal education due to their inability to pay the tuition, and dependency on parental inheritance. The communities' awareness and skills have not been able to overcome the problem of poverty and to improve the economic conditions.

The Target Groups

Globally spoken, the project target groups in Flores of NTT consist of two different groups:

  • Individuals or groups of poor people having a background as potential participant in community based economic development (CBED) activities in rural areas. Their income is below the regional minimum rate of income and they periodically face to fulfil their basic needs1. Their basic interest is to achieve a decent standard of living through the provision of basic services and a better utilisation of the available natural resources.
  • Micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs with various backgrounds (e.g. men and women, skilled and unskilled workers, farmers, technical graduates, unemployed youth, professionals, retired civil servants, rural migrants, etc). At least 70 % of the entrepreneurs chosen will have, at the start of the project support, an income below the provincial average. At least 40 % of the entrepreneurs will be women. The main interest of the entrepreneurs is to further develop their enterprise in the framework of a small-scale enterprise development (SED) programme.


Both target groups are not mutually exclusive. It often happens that members of the first category become micro or small entrepreneurs. Moreover, many micro and small-scale entrepreneurs who were guided by DPF have in the meanwhile developed their business. Many of them continue to liaise with DPF and provide valuable services to its programmes. They also play a role in the association of alumni and the entrepreneurs’ co-operative.

Beneficiaries (farmers and entrepreneurs) will be directly involved in the project. As mentioned earlier, participants belong to two slightly different groups, which will be approached using different strategies (CBED and SED). CBED beneficiaries will be organized in self-help groups in rural areas. Small entrepreneurs, both in rural and urban areas, will mainly (but not exclusively) be guided on an individual basis. For both groups, the following general selection criteria have been fixed with regard to the personality of the candidate:

  • he/she is requiring explicitly the project service;
  • he/she has a good motivation and desires to develop his/her enterprise (in the broad sense of the word);
  • he/she owns basic production skills;
  • he/she is not bound yet with traders or collectors (i.e. he/she is not dependent and can work as an independent farmer or entrepreneur);
  • he/she is not yet under guidance by another similar project (to avoid overlapping and excessive services or over-promotion).


The project wants to contribute to the following goals (long term):

  • An increase income of target groups;
  • Increased role of women in economic activities;
  • An improvement of agriculture and forest management capability for preservation of the environment especially forest;
  • An improvement of the socio-economic position of its target groups and hence, a reduction of the economic intra- and inter-regional imbalances;
  • An increase of rewarding employment opportunities;
  • The creation and strengthening of autonomous target group organisations that are able to effectively promote and defend the rights of their members and to perpetuate the development momentum created by the project;
  • To create and protect better environment that can support sustainable development through the project activities.

1 A survey in West Timor and Nusa Penida have indicated that, prior to DPF’s intervention, nearly 80 % of the population faced periodically difficulties to fulfil their basic needs.



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