Hupumada Village

February 2013

Conservation benefit: Support of the protection of 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) of forest for 10 years

Community benefit: Village-wide solar power

Sumba Island is one of a chain of islands in the Lesser Sundas, a dry region of Eastern Indonesia. Sumba Island is known for its culture of fine ikat weavings, megalithic tombs, ancestral beliefs, and was once known for its remarkable sandalwood forests. Sumba’s forest condition has degraded alarmingly from coverage of about 50 percent of the island in 1927 to less than seven percent by 2002. Today, the remaining forest consists of only five fragments that are greater than 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres) each, and all of which are located in Manupeu Tanadaru National Park. This forest contains thick stands of rare sandalwood and is the last remaining habitat for a number of different endemic frog, butterfly and reptile species, and also ten endemic bird species.

Hupumada is one of 22 villages that border the national park with a special enclave called “Lahona,” which was established long before the national park, and is the only cluster of residents permitted to live within the boundaries of the park. The village is only accessible by dirt track, and there is no electricity. Generally, the villagers use kerosene lamps at night to allow women to weave (for economic gain) and for children to study. However, because cash is required to purchase kerosene, villagers often sell firewood from the forest to get money. Solar power is of great interest to the villagers as they wish to be productive at night and would prefer not having to collect firewood to do so.

Seacology is funding this much-needed utility in exchange for protection of the national park surrounding Hupumada Village as a no-take zone for a minimum of 10 years. Village leaders will enforce the no-take agreement with traditional village sanctions (such as payment of a fine with pigs) and will facilitate villagers to plant timber and fruit trees on village land to increase self-sufficiency.

Project Updates
June 2014
The installation of solar powered lights are greatly assisting the villagers to reduce their family expenditures on fuel and reducing the need to harvest firewood for sale. Children are studying...
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February 2014
Half the village households (32 families) are currently enjoying the use of solar power lamps which were installed in late December. The remaining 32 households are waiting with great anticipation...
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