Alleviating Extreme Poverty in West Nusa Tenggara (WNT) through Human Development
Alleviating Extreme Poverty in West Nusa Tenggara (WNT) through Human Development

Alleviating Extreme Poverty in West Nusa Tenggara (WNT) through Human Development

Authors: Corry Aina, Dinda Ganisawati Javada, Restu Ananda Putra, Yuwono Dimas Prasmiwardana

Reviewers: Ahmad Awaludin Mufid, Arnentis, Dwi Martutiningrum, Farid Al-Firdaus, Jovania Cindo Putri, Nadia Faradiba

Indonesia Vision 2045

Equitable and inclusive development is the third pillar in Indonesia’s Vision 2045 to realize equitable prosperity for all Indonesian people. A very real challenge today is how to alleviate poverty because poverty is not only a problem in Indonesia, but throughout the world (Rasdi et. al, 2019).  Based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the first goal, Indonesia has an obligation to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The current poverty rate in Indonesia needs special attention. Human empowerment is closely related to poverty alleviation (Kyle, 2020). 

The idea of poverty consists of many different definitions, including understandings related to material deprivation, economic circumstances, and social relationship. According to Sen (n.d), poverty occurs when people have insufficient education, income, and health, and it lasts for a long time, almost as long as a human’s life. Poverty can be caused by various factors, including unemployment, terrorism and insurgency, income inequality, bias in the location of development efforts, non-diversification of the economy, corruption, and geographical location (Olagunju, 2020). 

Poverty in WNT

Extreme poverty remains a persistent issue in Indonesia despite its rapidly growing economy. According to Bappenas, Indonesia has a prediction of poverty decreasing to 0.02% or around 63 thousand people who still live below the poverty line in 2045. However, based on the number of poor people in WNT that has been analyzed by the government (Fig. 1(a)), there are still several regions that have populations with poor people above 5%, one of which is WNT province.

WNT province has one of the highest poverty rates among Indonesia’s regions, with 13.68% of the population living in poverty (Central Bureau of Statistic (BPS), 2023). Poor people in WNT will create an ongoing problem of cultural and structural poverty if not taken seriously. Concretely, there are programs from the central and regional government to assist, such as health insurance, grants, and cash transfer, as poverty alleviation is sourced from the state and provincial budget of Rp 1.2 trillion. However, even though various developments in the local area have been underway and investment is also being encouraged, extreme poverty is still found in WNT. There can be several reasons, such as insufficient coverage, inadequate funding, limited access to opportunities, and lack of sustainable development.

WNT Province is an area with economic development potential in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and processing industry sectors, with an average economic growth of 4% annually (Goldy, 2023). Unfortunately, the existing potential has not been developed optimally, so it has not significantly impacted the welfare of WNT residents due to the lack of investment made by each sector (Permono, 2020 cit. Sumarni 2023). Therefore, the right strategy is needed :

Short term solution – leveraging the digital economy 

Alisjahbana (2018) highlights the importance of involving various stakeholders, including communities and governments, in leveraging the digital economy to eradicate poverty and inequality in villages. According to this concept, this article suggests that the local government should build new public facilities to access the internet including one operator to assist the sellers in each subdistrict. Therefore, the local government should collaborate with the private sector to provide an integrated marketplace in one platform and should conduct training for sellers and operators to enhance their skills in absorbing technology. 

Mid term solution – Increasing efficiency of rural areas development

The study conducted by Handoyo et al. (2021) explores the impact of rural development on poverty reduction and economic growth. Using district-level data in Indonesia, they used the Village Development Index to measure rural development and analyze the effects on poverty depth and severity. The development of rural areas is conducted to make rural areas independent in fulfilling primary needs through the development of transportation and agricultural infrastructure to boost food production and facilitate food accessibility (Olagunju, 2020). According to Ledford and Luca (2013), this improvement in food production will be very functional in alleviating poverty and the dissipation of human capital resources. In Africa, agricultural infrastructure development succeeded in improving agrarian efficiency, leading to increased income for farmers and rural communities, as well as increased competitiveness in global markets (Ogundari, 2014). However, it is important to address the environmental impact of agriculture, as it is a significant contributor to tropical deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions (Pawlak et al., 2020). 

Long term solution – improve education

Education plays a vital role in reducing poverty. By investing in education, societies can provide individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve their overall quality of life. Dai (2022) found that the net participation rate and life expectancy significantly negatively impact poverty in Indonesia, meaning that higher participation in education or the labor force and longer life expectancy are associated with reduced poverty rates. However, as indicated by data from BPS in 2013 in the form of 16.32% of the population illiterate and only 7.19% of years of the 9-year compulsory education proclaimed by the government (Sutanto, 2017). Governments should focus on improving infrastructure, providing scholarships, and promoting inclusive policies to make education more accessible to all. Besides, the quality of education must not be neglected. Government should strive to provide high-quality education that equips students with relevant and practical skills for the job market to overcome poverty. This involves improving teaching methods, curriculum development, teacher training, and incorporating technology in the learning process. However, while improving education is a vital component, it should be complemented by efforts in other areas such as infrastructure development, and economic opportunities to create a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction.

Conclusion:

WNT requires a comprehensive approach to alleviate poverty effectively. While improving education is an important component, it needs to be integrated with other strategies to create the best solution. Access to technology and digital infrastructure can connect individuals to markets, job opportunities, and educational resources. Additionally, WNT has a significant rural population, and developing rural areas through transportation and agriculture infrastructure can help reduce the poverty rate.

References:

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