UMCOR Concludes LABA and SIGA II Projects in Aceh
February 18, 2010 — UMCOR Indonesia today concluded two major income generation projects in Aceh, Indonesia, that will continue to benefit more than 1,000 families affected by the 2004 tsunami.
Through the projects, Livelihoods for Affected Communities in Bireuen, Aceh (LABA), begun in 2007, and Sustainable Income Generation in Aceh (SIGA II), initiated in 2008, tsunami-affected families were able to start new businesses or expand existing ones to increase their earning potential and economic security.
Together, the two projects resulted in the establishment of 12 Community Development Committees (CDC) that will continue to promote sustainable livelihoods by providing income generation packages, technical training support, and the reconstruction of community livelihood infrastructure.
Aceh is located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra in the Indonesian archipelago and was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the December 26, 2004, tsunami that killed 230,000 people and left 500,000 homeless.
Thomas Dwyer, executive director of UMCOR’s field offices in eight countries, said income generation was the “second highest priority for most tsunami-affected families, after the rebuilding of homes” and added that UMCOR’s aim is to help rebuild communities like those in Aceh “so they are better than they were” before the disaster.
The income generation packages UMCOR provided through LABA and SIGA II included fish ponds, livestock, rice production, mini-bus service, motorcycle repair and groceries. Beneficiaries received specialized training in small business skills and technical skills to enhance the productivity of their packages.
LABA and SIGA II both utilized a revolving communal fund mechanism that required beneficiaries to make partial repayments back to the CDC-managed Community Development Funds. The “social loan” repayments were then used to fund community development projects and subsequent rounds of income generation packages for new beneficiaries.
In addition to the income generation packages, UMCOR rebuilt infrastructure, including roads, irrigation channels and bridges, vital to community livelihoods in each of the project villages.
Funding for LABA, which was implemented in 10 villages in Bireuen District, was provided by the American Red Cross. SIGA II, implemented in two villages, was funded by the American Baptist Churches.
“This income generation package has increased income for more than 700 individuals or small businesses,” Tom Alcedo, American Red Cross Country Representative, said of the LABA project. “Joint collaboration projects like these have enabled us to help thousands of people in Aceh earn incomes, support their families and productively contribute to their communities.”
John Holveck, UMCOR Indonesia’s head of mission, echoed Alcedo’s remarks and said the three-year long projects would “continue to have life and give life well into the future.”
UMCOR plans to capitalize on the success of LABA and SIGA II with a new project, Integrated Sustainable Development for Aceh (ISDA), through which it will continue to work with the CDCs to form Cooperatives in project villages.
Throughout 2010, UMCOR will continue to provide technical and material support to increase market linkages and value-added services to foster economic growth and sustainable livelihoods for the people of Aceh.
A closing ceremony held in the village of Beurawang in Bireuen district was attended by representatives of the beneficiary communities, government departments, non-governmental organizations, and heads of military and police in Bireuen.
The celebration included a traditional Acehnese feast and a presentation of the traditional Ranup Lampuan dance, as well as speeches by the beneficiaries, local dignitaries and UMCOR and American Red Cross representatives.
About UMCOR Indonesia
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is a not-for-profit humanitarian aid organization, working in more than 80 countries worldwide. Our mission is to alleviate human suffering — whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster—with hearts and minds open to all people.
UMCOR established its field offices in Indonesia following the December 2004 tsunami. Country operations are based in Medan, with field offices in Banda Aceh and Bireuen.
UMCOR Indonesia continues to help those affected by the tsunami and the 30-year conflict that preceded it. To support thee projects, please give generously to Indonesia Emergency, UMCOR Advance #217400.