Together with TLM Foundation Developing Nation from Village
Productive garden is a community development program that has been implementing by Tanaoba Lais Manekat Foundation since 2014 to improve poor families’ income in village by utilizing unproductive land. This program aims to transform unproductive land into productive so that the land can produce plants with economic value which can help community to enhance their life standard whether from health or economy aspect.
Since 2014 until 2018, TLM-GMIT Foundation has successfully implemented productive garden in 8 villages that located in 4 regencies of East Nusa Tenggara. Those villages are; Nekmese and Sahraen in Kupang Regency, Kiubaat and Enonabuasa in South Central Timor, Kolobolon, Maubesi and Lidamanu in Rote Ndao Regency and Ngaru Kanoru in East Sumba Regency.
This program was formed from survey done by TLM-GMIT Foundation’s facilitators on villages’ potency. One of the facilitators, Freand Tedi Neno, a bachelor who is willing to live in village and mingle with villagers to do all activity of village people such as farming, planting and harvesting paddy, climbing tuak/siwalan tree so that he can experience the difficulty of living in village as a poor and also can be accepted as one of village community.
Freand Tedi Neno or familiarly called as Freand was born in Kupang, 18 April 1984. He is a graduate of Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA) Kupang, department of business administration. Freand got married to Sofeni Octavianus in 2016. Freand has been placed as facilitator in village of Kolobolon, sub-district of Central Rote since 2014.
During his service in the village as a facilitator, he delivered agriculture training to the community like horticultural, cultivation, how to combine seasonal plants in order to earn regular income, organic farming, plants treatment and post-harvest processing. Aside from that, Freand also provides teaching and training of health and village government mentoring in planning and implementing village programs.
Freand added that a facilitator does not only do mentoring and supervising and the act as “facility” to accommodate community’s aspiration as a representative of institution where he works. To collect the aspiration, Freand conduct a regular meeting to discuss weekly activity of productive garden members and their next week target as well as to discuss members’ finance that they earn from the garden. The purpose of the discussion is to make sure that decision taking is the result of agreement between members and facilitator (TLM-GMIT Foundation).
Freand stated that with the regular weekly meeting, he can see that members have gone through a change in the way of thinking where previously they just planted to fulfill the need of daily consumption but presently they see garden products as income source that can increase their economy life. Moreover, with the regular weekly meeting that involved all members, they become more courageous to state their opinions and aspirations. In other side, Freand notices that the purpose of TLM-GMIT Foundation placing a village facilitator can be achieved where the community has been more innovative in making the most of their village potency. Members whose incomes are from productive garden are able to plan their future by saving.
Freand admits that serving as a facilitator is not an easy job, especially for university graduates who tend to have dream for getting job in big city. This is because he has to live far away from his family and has to adapt with new environment and new life style. But his job as a facilitator can be understood by his wife, Sofeni Octavianus who is now serving as a Vicar in Noebanu, East Amanatun. Sofeni’s service in village enables her to understand the hardship of the poor in village so she can keep supporting her husband’s work in developing village community.
Even if there are a lot of things that makes a facilitator as a difficult profession, Freand says that he is proud of his job because he can be a “changing agent”. With many positives change that has happened to community, Freand says that being a facilitator is a delighted service. Friend also states other reasons why he is proud to be a part of TLM-GMIT foundation as a facilitor;
“Working a village facilitator of TLM-GMIT foundation has helped me to improve my life economically and help me to achieve my goal to develop village community”. Freand also added that according to him, productive garden is a solution to create employment in village so the community can feel comfortable to live in village and not being pressured by economic recession to venture to big city as TKI/TKW (Indonesian Migrant Workers) to fulfill their life needs”.