Benteng Dewa, on the southwest coast of Flores Island, was established in 2004 and has a population of 1,580 people. It is one of 27 villages located around the 63,738-acre Mbeliling Forest.The villagers are almost exclusively farmers, tending to rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and coconut. The spirit of community volunteer work and traditional law is strong in this village.
The community has agreed to keep protecting 14,826 acres of the forest (including about 618 acres of savannah) as a strict no-take zone for 10 years. Birdlife Indonesia is drafting an agreement with all 27 villages, in their local dialect, that will set out the rules for the protected area.
Seacology will fund a health clinic for the community. The government turned down a request for medical facilities, and the village places health improvement as its highest priority. The village is about a 30-minute drive from the nearest town and is separated by a river located about 1.8 miles from the village, which is impassable by vehicle. Sometimes the villagers cannot access medical care because of this obstacle. Furthermore, malaria is common, and health care for children and pregnant women is severely lacking.