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Research Report

Towards Wellbeing: Monitoring Poverty in Malinau, Indonesia

Moira Moeliono
Godwin Limberg
Christian Gönner
Eva Wollenberg
Ramses Iwan
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2007
Pages: 88
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-3)

    In August 2006, the President of Indonesia announced that poverty had been reduced from 23.4% in 1999 to 16% in 2006 (Anon. 2006a). This announcement came on the heels of a year of hardship with fuel price increases, which logically was felt to have increased poverty. The result was a re-emergence of the discussion of poverty figures and definition of poverty (Anon. 2006a, b, c; Khomsan 2006; Agusta 2006; Lesmana 2006; Sugema 2006). Confusion over poverty figures and the definition of poverty arises from the use of at least three parallel information systems for determining who is poor:

    National Statistics...

  2. (pp. 4-12)

    Established in 1999, Malinau is a new district formed from the interior part of the Bulungan District. Located in a remote area against the border with Sarawak, it can only be reached by plane or by boat up either the Sesayap River or the Kayan River. Because of its inaccessibility, this area has remained one of the last forested areas with the richest remnants of dipterocarp forest in East Kalimantan (Figure 2). Indeed, forest was and still is Malinau’s main asset, with 83% of Malinau District designated state forest land (Bappeda dan BPS Kabupaten Malinau 2005). Not all of this...

  3. (pp. 13-16)

    Understanding wellbeing and poverty is the first step to reducing poverty. Meaningful definitions are important in order to identify the causes of poverty, the objectives of poverty reduction, and the scope of what should be done.

    Declining poverty means increasing wellbeing. Both terms are interwoven and look at the same problem from two different sides. A broad definition of poverty comes very close to ‘a lack of wellbeing’. So both terms are used almost interchangeably. For instance, people who completely lack wellbeing are in poverty. On the other hand, if people are in a state of high wellbeing, their lives...

  4. (pp. 17-30)

    Our basic assumption is that through systematic monitoring, local government officials would be able to better address poverty issues. This project has therefore focused on designing, developing and implementing a poverty monitoring system using a participatory learning approach. This has meant that each step of the process was done with extensive consultation and collaboration with the local government partners.

    Malinau and Kutai Barat were selected as examples of forested areas where large numbers of people increasingly depend on the actions of local governments. Both also exemplify the new style district formed after decentralisation and developed as autonomous districts with full...

  5. (pp. 31-34)

    Earlier it was mentioned that more than half of Malinau’s population is officially poor. While the poverty monitoring surveys in eight subdistricts17 do not define a poverty level, the results show that people do perceive themselves as being poor. Despite the efforts to understand poverty as a totality of the different spheres, poverty is felt most in the economic and material spheres.

    Table 6 presents the information of the two poverty monitoring surveys. The most conspicuous result is that the index for the economic sector is perceived as critical in all subdistricts except S. Boh.18 In the baseline survey, villagers...

  6. (pp. 35-40)

    The district workshop held in November 2003 highlighted the fact that all stakeholders had different perceptions of why people are poor, although all agreed on the necessity to view poverty from different aspects and multiple dimensions. It is not only a question of basic food, shelter and clothing requirements, but also encompasses social and cultural issues. Poverty in Malinau District is thus caused by ignoring the social–cultural aspects as occurred during the centralised, Java-centric and top-down policies of the New Order.

    Although agreeing to the multidimensional character of poverty, most officials perceive poverty from the perspective of their own...

  7. (pp. 41-48)

    Poverty alleviation has been off and on the government agenda for several decades, the last wave pushed by the international attention to poverty. Despite this huge effort, results have been largely disappointing. Lack of coordination remains persistent at all levels of government structures. Each sector plans and implements its own programmes without adequate links to other programmes, often without considering the shared target groups. Thus, there is only a weak link between agriculture and cooperatives, or between agricultural projects run by the Community Empowerment Service (PMD) and the Agricultural Service (Dinas Pertanian). This is further exacerbated by unclear division of...

  8. (pp. 49-50)

    In this report we have tried to explain how poverty can be monitored in an effective manner. We reported the results of the trials and through several supporting studies we also looked at poverty itself and tried to analyse the causes and major constraints and opportunities that hamper or facilitate efficient poverty alleviation in Malinau.

    Using the multidimensional poverty model or NESP, we gained a more complete understanding of poverty and developed the monitoring system accordingly. The various causes of poverty listed by various stakeholders can be linked back to aspects of the model. Although not articulated explicitly, there is...

  9. (pp. 51-56)

    As a multidimensional local poverty monitoring system, NESP provides comprehensive and relevant information important for district and subdistrict planning. The core and context information can help planning agencies like Bappeda to:

    Alert the local government on poverty hotspots

    Alert responsible government sectors

    Identify needs for addressing acute poverty (basic needs)

    Anticipate future impoverishment caused by an unfavourable context

    Identify strategic entry points to reduce chronic poverty

    Identify strategic entry points to strengthen the enabling environment (context)

    Identify priority areas for regionally more balanced development

    Identify which poverty alleviation measures have worked and which have not

    Track changes of poverty data...