Building Hope from Klayas, the Beautiful Village in the Almost Forgotten Bird’s Head of Papua – “If not Papuan mothers, then who else? If not now, when?” Yully Kamumpat said excitedly. Yully, a woman in her 60s this year, energetically led around 60 Tulip Early Childhood Education (PAUD) students in Klayas Village, Seget District, Sorong Regency, West Papua to sing various songs while clapping.

The children were healthy, brave and cheerful even though the place where they studied was very rustic. The PAUD building, which has cement floors and tin roofs, still occupies the Tulip Posyandu room.

There are no toys or props like those that are usually owned by PAUD in general.

However, the enthusiasm that the children had overcame all existing limitedness. Loud voices, thunderous applause, and smiles never left the children’s faces.

From behind the window, Emma Monggaprouw’s eyes filled with tears as she watched the children appear brave. Emma did not expect that these children were the same children who had not been touched by education two years ago. “During Covid-19, the children had no activities, most were just playing or accompanying their parents to the forest looking for vegetables or sago,” said Emma, ​​a cadre of the Tulip Posyandu.

Klayas’ face is now different from Klayas many years ago. Previously, as a village that was in the 3T category, aka Forefront, Disadvantaged, and Remote, there was not much that Klayas residents could do to improve their lives. Located about 90 kilometers from Sorong or an hour away by speed boat, Klayas was initially left behind in all respects.

There is no clean running water in the village. An irony, because according to the Head of Klayas Village Wempi Katumlas, the name of the village was taken from Kla which means water and a river called Kayas. Not only is there no water, schools are no longer operating because teachers don’t want to teach. In the village there is no market, let alone a center for economic growth. Klayas seems untouched by development. The men go to the forest to find sago and vegetables to eat that day.

Sago they take and by the traditional way, using limited water available in the forest. Meanwhile, mothers at home take care of their children, the number of which is increasing every year. Not many Klayas citizens participate in the family planning program. According to Emma, ​​every household has an average of more than 5 children. In fact, some have up to 13 children. There, it is very common for girls aged 16 to be married and have more than one child. In Klayas village there is also no health center. If there are residents who are sick, they are forced to take them to the Seget District and that is not easy. Residents have to find a boat and it takes time.

Hope began to emerge when the Water Council was established in Klayas Village. This local social institution was formed and facilitated by PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional (KPI) Refinery Unit VII Kasim since 2021. The clean water well and water storage tank belong to Petrogas. In order for residents to enjoy water, PT KPI supports the provision of water to the community through control pipes and installation of water lines to homes. Water distribution is entrusted to 10 youth members of the Water Council.

They receive training in water installation, distribution management, as well as maintenance of waterways. “There was a shortage of water. We often take it from the rain or ponds, but now we don’t have to wait for it to rain, all we have to do is open the tap, the water will come out,” said Nimbrot, the initiator of the Clean Klayas Program and Chair of the Water Council.

Starting with clean water, big changes began to be seen in the village with 86 heads of households. Availability of clean water makes people live cleaner and healthier. The economy has also improved through sago processing centers and people’s markets. Starting in 2019, the Klayas people have not just used sago that grows in the forest, but have started to seed sago. Sago is processed with abundant clean water, the waste is used as organic fertilizer.

Then, the dregs are used as a medium for growing mushrooms. Sago, which was originally only sold unprocessed, is now made into dry sago typical of West Papua. Organic fertilizer from sago waste is sold to Sorong City, as well as mushrooms. “This is what is called a circular economy, don’t just throw it away,” said Didik again.

Padjadjaran University (Unpad) Environmental Management Observer Prof Dr Martha Fani Cahyandito assessed that the capital owned by Klayas residents is of extraordinary intangible value. Fani sees that the progress in Klayas is very good. The community, especially children, can see the spirit, the communication is smoother, more confident, and polite. “Those like this are extraordinary assets. They dare to appear confidently. We’ll see. It’s not impossible for them to be successful,” said Fani.

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