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A Bold Commitment to Nurturing Benefits

Photos* and article wrote by Lina Susanti, participant of Photovoices International program in Ban Village, Bali

Young people are leaders of change. Achieving change requires the right synergy from the young people themselves. Knowing that, this is exactly what my friends and I are trying to do: creating a synergy that we manifest by taking action in the hope of creating great results.

This stems from our concern about the drought problem that plagues our hamlet, Manikaji Hamlet, Ban Village, Karangasem, Bali, every year. The lack of clean water makes it difficult for the residents to meet their daily needs, to support agricultural needs which are the main source of livelihood for the community, and to support road infrastructure improvements during the dry season. In addition, forest fires that occur every year also lead to deforestation and cause a decline of our water source that originates from the forest.

From these facts, we concluded that the core of the drought problem in our hamlet was the poorly managed forest.  We believe the solution to this problem is promoting tree planting. The drought issue was first raised during the Girl Empowerment Photovoices Project activities in 2020-2021. Tree planting activities were also discussed during Photovoices project in Ban Village in 2022-2023, under the theme of “Involvement of Women and Youth in Customary Villages”.

The beginning. Starting with no more than 10 people, a group of young people from Manikaji Hamlet, Ban Village, initiated tree planting activities. They traversed the hilly area, searching for tree seedlings from the lush parts of Saab Hill to be replanted in the deforested areas. On the way back, they would take a short break to drink and eat the provisions they brought, while exchanging stories.

The starter. This is our initial planting photo. In addition to searching for seedlings around the planting site, we also brought some seedlings from home, such as the banyan seedling being held by the young person in the photo.

The tree planting activities started in 2022 and are still ongoing. When we started this activity, we faced many obstacles and challenges. These included community responses limited necessary facilities and infrastructure, and the availability of seedlings. Many community members were skeptical about this activity. They believed that this is only an activity for the youngsters to fill their spare time and would ultimately end in vain.  Some parents were even hesitant to allow their children to participate in this activity, considering the remote access to the location of the tree planting. To reach the tree planting site, we had to pass through ravines, potholed and slippery roads, with a lack of lighting during early morning travels.

The road. The journey to the planting location at Saab Hill cannot be described as easy. They usually depart together, leaving at 5 in the morning and arriving at their destination after walking for 1,5-2 hours.


The bike. Sometimes, some choose to ride motorcycles to the tree planting location. Although the roads are quite steep and potholed, this becomes the right solution because after planting, they will cut the grass for cattle feed, which is transported home by motorcycle.

The routines. This is the process of checking the plants, which is usually done once every 1-3 weeks. The checking of the plants/tree seedlings that have been planted typically involves observing whether the plants are still alive or not, followed by watering them with whatever water is available.

However, “boldness” was the main spirit we used to overcome these obstacles and challenges. Allowing us to finally realize this activity and have it featured in our Photovoices project. Our determination received positive responses from relevant parties and ultimately we succeded in obtaining seedling assistance.

Effort will never betray results. At least, that’s the inspiration that we always use as motivation to make this activity even better. This activity raises community awareness about important issues that have long been overlooked amid the solutions they are trying to find. The community began to understand the importance of preserving the forest, which holds many benefits and is the key source of life that must always be preserved. This can be seen from several community members who participated in this activity. For us, this is a turning point and a good start for the major changes we are striving for.

Through this activity, we also want to change the perception of the community that doubts the ability of young people and women in bringing change. However, to bring changes, requires contributions from all elements of society.

Young people can synergize and contribute to bring winds of change in our hometown.  Through this activity, we also prove that it is very important to involve young people and women in decision-making, as decision-making has usually been done only by adult men. In reality, such exclusion of women and young people from decision-making process does not align with the necessary results in development, as rapid village development requires the participation of the entire community—not just one group.

As one of the young women involved in this activity, this is certanily my greatest achievement and drives me to be more open in responding to the issues in my hometown.

Being part of the community is a privilege that everyone has. Young people and women can also be part of the community that advances the life of their area. Young people and women are not just small parts that only follow but are actually the drivers of change. Their involvement can empower the community, especially other young people and women, with the opportunities and platforms they have. This, of course, can create more advanced and developed human resources.

They should have the same platform to voice aspirations, have room for discussion, and have the opportunity to synergize with others. In this way, the participation of young people and women willnot be limited and inequality can be overcome. Because in essence, the progress of a civilization cannot be realized if only involving a small segment of the population.  

©PVI/Ban Village/2017


*Photos were taken during the program and after the program ended


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