Meeting with the Bupati
In Bali , it is even more important that all levels of government know about Sawah Bali’s work. It all comes down to community. Most decisions of Balinese life are made communally, in the family compound, in the banjar (village governance- all married males) and subak (every farmer). Independence or privacy in life here is a foreign concept, yet interdependence reigns. Our Pilot Project is located in the Regency of Gianyar. (there are 9 in Bali) The greatest number of subak (529) lie in Gianyar. The decisions in Gianyar affect its citizens far more than decisions made in provincial (Governor) or even national (President in Jakarta) government. The Gamelan and the women singing prior to the ceremony before the government conference.
We need access to information in Gianyar’s Spatial Planning and Agricultural departments. And of course, if you have been following our story, Sawah Bali must be annually funded by the government to do the work of island wide conservation and economic development. We anticipate that funding coming from each Regency, indirectly from tourism.
The Bupati (Regent) is the leader of a county. We have been wanting to meet with him for a long time. You really cannot force these kinds of things. (despite my New Yorker DNA) Finally the call came, and like so many of the experiences here, it was perfect timing.
Whereas it was a formal meeting, our reception was met with warmth and enthusiasm. Along with the Bupati, his Program Administer (and of course Press) joined the meeting.The Bupati showing us our new office in the government complex.
The Bupati showing us our new office in the government complex
Dedik led the conversation, with the rest of us adding elements and the Bupati conversing voluminously. He was extremely supportive and excited to hear the details.
He generously gave his time to us, then offered us an office (!) in the government complex and invited us to be a keynote speaker the next day at his ceremonial program entitled, “Members of the National Program for Community Empowerment in Rural Areas (PNPM Rural).
We were over the moon.
Translation "Through this meeting of PNPM (National Program of People Empowerment) practitioners, we’ll make this program of “Siaga Desa Swatantra” (to ensure each village will become economically sustainable) a success. The program offers farmers a cow, tractor/rototiller or other equipment for the subak.