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Community Development Program
In response to the pressing needs on the island and after much planning, The Sumba Foundation initiated the first Community Development Program in 2001. This Program was the first phase initiative of a long-term commitment that the Foundation set forth to lessen the impact of poverty and improve the quality of life for the Sumbanese people.
The Community Development Program has four primary focus areas:
- income generation
With a core staff of 43 local Sumbanese, the Program covers a geographical area of 164 square kilometres (101 square miles), with a population of 22,000.
Along with our Malaria Control Project, the Community Development Program is having a very positive impact on a population that has never before been the beneficiary of development assistance. Now hundreds of villages have clean water nearby, there are far less children are dying from preventable disease, school enrollments are double what they used to be, malaria infection rates are down by 85%, and there are hundreds of people making real income from our organic farming and bio-diesel projects.
Even more gratifying is seeing the start of small economies growing in an area that had nothing going for it at all. In 1988 when we first moved here this was a cashless society, a barter economy where there was no money, a place where most people had not ever seen paper currency. Now there are roadside kiosks opening throughout this region. People are making and spending money; this is the start of the end of poverty for many people here.