I couldn’t be more excited to go on my first field trip with Kopernik. I, along with Lincoln, a Kopernik Project Officer, set off on the mission to reach out to a farmer community in Sarongge village, Cianjur, West Java by hosting a Tech Fair. The location is close to the area of Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. It is a beautiful biosphere reserve and is home to various protected flora and fauna. The people who live around the area are mostly farmers. Unfortunately, most of them use land within the National Park to farm as their main source of income. Currently, almost 7,000 hectares of the protected National Park area has been converted into their vegetable gardens.
Green Initiative Foundation (GIF), an NGO that is working on promoting sustainable lifestyle in Cianjur, has worked diligently since 2009 to reduce the dependency of these farmers on the National Park area. To incentive farmers to abandon their gardens within the National Park, GIF provides resources to raise sheep and rabbits as well as to develop organic farms outside the National Park border.
These sheeps are provided by Green Initiative Foundation to the farmers who have left their vegetable gardens
In terms of their living conditions, the farmers have a very low income, ranging between USD 30 and 100 per month. For drinking water, they use the water from the spring which has been exposed to pesticides over the years as a result of farming. To improve the lives of the farmers and create an alternative source of income, Kopernik is collaborating with GIF to conduct a Tech Fair on 21 October 2012 in Sarongge. Government officials from the village attended, as well as local community members and organizations. The event welcomed 73 people, mostly women because the men were working in their vegetable gardens. Kopernik introduced nine technologies, including solar lights, water filters, a biomass cook stove, self-adjustable glasses, among others. The attendees were very excited with the technologies and selected the Nazava water filter, d.light, and UB.03-1 Biomass Stove as their favorite.
Various life-improving technologies introduced in the Tech Fair
The attendees are very interested to see the d.light S10
Lincoln is explaining how to use AdSpecs, self-adjustable glasses
Kopernik received great feedback on the Tech Fair. There is certainly a need to distribute our life-changing technologies there to improve the lives of the farmers. I look forward to working on the follow-up projects and preserving the feeling of fresh air I had in Sarongge.