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Solol Youth and Commodity Production
20 December 2022 - by Admin

Day before noon. Jonpit separates the last coconut pulp he just squeezed. In front of this young man, a large basin was almost full of coconut milk.


Jonpit rushed to get the plastic and filter. The freshly squeezed coconut milk is then poured into a plastic container with one end tied. The coconut milk will be left for 24 hours to get Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO). Jonpit is not alone. He was mentored by Grison, a Bentara Papua facilitator who is used to making VCO.


Grison has tried many times to make VCO. Many times, he had to face failure and find ways to find the best practice. It is this series of lessons learned from failure that results are disseminated to the small group of Solol youths.


VCO production is one of the routine activities carried out by village youths at the Solol station. Apart from Jonpit, there are Gebby, Alfin, Memet and Rein. These young men were always together. Starting from sorting and removing the shells from the husks, grating the coconut meat to processing it into VCO or village coconut oil.


Jonpit and his friends are a group of youths who do not continue their studies up to senior high school (SMA). There are those who drop out of school since elementary school, some only go to junior high school. Everyday they are at the station.


"These are children who want to learn. Have a special motivation that makes them always come. In contrast to other youth friends who go to school to college. (This last-mentioned group) tends to be oriented towards becoming a State Civil Apparatus," said Grison.


Bentara Papua once built the Sekolah Kampung Merdesa/Merdesa Village School (SEKAM). The youths initially only heard about it but were not involved as SEKAM participants. Since then, Jonpin and friends often come to the station. They saw the daily activities carried out, such as making banana flour, coconut oil and VCO. From this experience, slowly they began to learn and get involved in commodity processing.


The coconuts processed by the youth group come from the community garden in Solol. Almost every day someone came to take him. This fruit is bought by the station manager, no longer by Bentara Papua, who only gives stimulants at the start. A grain of Rp. 1000 for large fruit. If it is small, the price is Rp. 500/pc. In order to produce more coconut milk, the purchased coconuts must be really old but have not yet sprouted.


In the early days when they were involved in using coconuts to make coconut oil, Jonpit and his friends were given enough freedom to be creative. They are free to experiment with the ways they know before finding the right formula. For example, by trying the way of making that he saw in each other's homes.


Yunes Bonay, who has been involved in organizing the Solol community since the beginning, told how the youth made village coconut oil for the first time. “Initially these youth friends were not confident enough. They worry that what they are doing will only fail. Because of that we continue to encourage and provide opportunities for continuous trials.”


In the initial trial, when the coconut milk was cooked to make oil, the youths still mixed the initial dregs with clear oil. This process makes the color of the oil tend to be cloudy, not clear. They then tried again by separating it so that the results were clearer. This success makes them more confident with the process that has been undertaken.


Currently, Jonpit and his friends already have quite good skills in making coconut oil. They also had their own initiative when they saw coconuts starting to pile up in the station yard.


 Produk olahan yang dihasilkan dari stasiun Solol

Processed products produced from the Solo station


The changes in young people like Jonpit and his friends were also noticed by Mr. Sela, one of the youth leaders in Solol. “Previously, they were mostly unemployed in the village. Nothing is clear to do. But since there was a Bentara Papua station that trained them to make coconut oil, VCO, as well as flour from bananas, they now have productive activities.”


So far, VCO or coconut oil production activities are still concentrated at the station. One of them is because the facilities are more complete and raw materials are always available. But at least the skills that Jonpit and friends already have can be the initial capital. Which can be useful in helping to meet the needs of his family, so he doesn't always depend on goods from the shop.


Apart from producing commodities, this small Jonpit troupe also learned gardening in the station yard. They learned to loosen the soil, make raised beds, and grow vegetables such as chilies, kale, and mustard greens. The yield from the garden is not much. Even if harvested, only for consumption.


The visit of the Raja Ampat Deputy Regent to the Solol village product stand

The visit of the Raja Ampat Deputy Regent to the Solol village product stand


In the long run, changes in the activities of these young people need support from the Solol village government. The commodity production activities that they carry out should be supported by the existence of Village Owned Enterprises (BUMKam). With the presence of BUMKam, the marketing process can reach neighboring villages on the coast of Salawati Island.


The idea above was also conveyed by the Deputy Regent of Raja Ampat Regency who had visited Solol while attending a church activity recently. Challenges like this are also a concern for Bentara Papua.

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