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Bamboo Bikes: Helping to Reduce Poverty in East Bali

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Ban Village in Karangasem, East Bali, has the distinction of being one of the largest villages in Indonesia. With 7,200 hectares, all 19 of Ban’s sub-villages lie within 12 kilometres of the Mount Agung crater. All together the area is home to more than 3,500 families all of whom were forced to flee their homes on the 22nd of September when severe earthquakes pointed to an imminent eruption of Mount Agung.

The government ordered all villagers living within 12 kilometres of Mount Agung crater to evacuate to designated safe locations. By the 29th of October, the volcanic activity had reduced to a level where the danger zone was reduced to 6 kilometres, and only those within this zone were not allowed to return home. That included 8 out of 19 communities in the Ban Village.

In 1998, when the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) formed a partnership with these 19 communities of Ban Village, it was clear that their centuries of isolation and abject poverty had been exacerbated by the destruction caused by Mount Agung’s 1963 eruption, which continued – on and off – until February 1964. EBPP’s short-term goals were to reduce poverty by improving infrastructure, education, healthcare resources, water and sanitation, while their long-term goals were to create livelihoods opportunities through the most beneficial natural resource of bamboo.