Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Indonesia is the owner of the third largest area of tropical forest in the world that serves as a lung to the earth. Nonetheless, the forest is unfortunately disappearing at an alarming rate due to illegal logging done by companies and people living around it. By 2007, the forest in Indonesia has lost about 70 percent of its area. Illegal logging in Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, for example, is threatening its inhabitants including the endangered species such as hornbills, gibbons and orangutans. Mostly moved by an economic drive, the illegal logging practice has done over generations where people are not aware of the practice jeopardizing the environment and their livelihood.
The lifestyle of the people living by the forest also creates health problems in the area. People do not eat vegetables because they do not grow them. Five years ago the vegetables were imported from Java, therefore expensive. This unhealthy lifestyle led to many health problems such as malnutrition and diarrhea. In Indonesia, which has 16 physicians per 100,000 people, 12 times lower than the ratio in the United States, medical care is a scarce commodity. In rural areas, the ratio is even worse: in West Kalimantan there are three clinics where 60,000 residents share one doctor. For people living in remote areas, they have to travel quite a long distance to get high quality health service, which is not cheap. They turn to illegal logging to get some fast cash without knowing that it would destruct the forest which leads to the spread of communicable diseases caused by the destructive environment, for example respiration illnesses, tuberculosis, dengue fever and malaria.
Many organizations apply a silo approach with a focus on either forest conservation or healthcare with less interest in addressing people’s related problem. There are civil society organizations providing high quality of healthcare in rural areas, however, they focus exclusively on human health. Similarly, other organizations offer economic incentive for conservation, which exclusively focusing on environmental goals. The government service is very much sector oriented in addition to their lack of people’s or client based services. There is not yet that help people address the challenges in a holistic environment while creating healthcare system also improving a healthier environment –physical and economically.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Kinari Webb is developing an intertwined approach to improving people’s health and their environment. Through this new mechanism, people living by the buffer zone of the Gunung Palung National Park, could access the affordable high-quality health care as well as become forest defenders who protect the rain forests. Through her organization Health in Harmony, she has introduced the ASRI (Alam Sehat Lestari / Healthy Nature Everlasting) program, which is combining health care, conservation, environmental education and medical training in Sukadana. For the health care system she created an alternative payment mechanism where people are able to pay by non-cash methods through labor in the clinic or the rainforest. They can also help with the reforestation, pay with seedlings or organic fertilizers or paying with local crafts. The organic farming program Kinari introduced has turned farmers from loggers into guardians of the forest.
Kinari also set up an incentive mechanism both to make people healthy and to restrain people from illegal logging. The incentive is set for people living in villages with less illegal logging cases would get 70% discounted health service fee. To make the mechanism works, a forest patrol system is set where villagers are trained and recruited as forest guardians. Not only doing the monitoring, they also talk to villagers about illegal logging and its implications. This method has managed to lower illegal logging in the area as much as 68% whilst keeping the people healthy. Kinari realizes that approaching just the adults is not enough. She then engages children in learning about forest protection and recycling while introducing hygiene practices.
Kinari is already preparing to replicate her model in Raja Ampat National Park in Papua this year. She has partnerships with top universities in the US where they send their doctors to learn about tropical diseases. These doctors share knowledge with the local doctors in the clinic, making the clinic a training centre. She is also planning to partner with local universities to spread her impact even more. Just recently, Kinari has been approached by an International Environmental Taskforce for United Nation REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) who partners with the government. They are interested in replicating her model to other areas of Indonesia.