When former Swiss banker Daniel Elber came to Ubud 14 years ago, he was deeply affected by the number of women and children begging in the streets, many of whom came from Muntigunung, an impoverished area on the northern slopes of the Batur caldera where water was scarce and employment opportunities were few and far between. After visiting the region, Daniel decided to devote his time and energy to improving the quality of life for the people of Muntigunung.
Daniel’s first course of action was to create Future for Children, a Swiss organisation committed to helping disadvantaged people in Southeast Asia, with a focus on sustainable development projects in Muntigunung. He also began to search for reputable Indonesian non-profit organisations that could help implement those projects. Soon the Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise (MCSE) was born with support from Yayasan Dian Desa and Future for Children.
From the beginning, MCSE had four main goals: to provide the people of Muntigunung with 25 litres of water per person, per day; to create one job per family with a minimum income of $100 USD per month; to reduce the child mortality rate by half; and to ensure adequate education for every child. To start, MCSE began organizing income-generating activities like harvesting, producing and distributing local products and training local women to guide trekking tours in the area.
Since its inception, MCSE has created jobs for multitudes of families in the Muntigunung area, with many villagers working in the production of high-quality food products like lontar palm sugar, cashews and rosella tea, as well as gorgeous hammocks, bags made with local textiles, and hand-woven baskets. The villagers are paid fair market prices and net revenues from sales are invested back into income-generating projects in the area.
Moreover, 36 villages in Muntigunung now have access to clean water, health services and education, and there are on-going projects to build toilets, educate villagers about hygiene, and provide workshops to empower villagers to approach their local government about infrastructure.
You can support the people of Muntigunung by joining one of their trekking tours, purchasing their products at Bali Buda, Pepitos or Bintang Supermarket, or visiting www.muntigunung.com.