In 2015, approximately 5 million people live in the East Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik). Of those five million people, approximately 30 per cent are unemployed (2011, International Labour Office). In 2008, the average person in the region earned about $190 Australian every year (2008, NTA). Yes, per year. 20.6 per cent of children do not go to school (2013, International Labour Office). The overall extreme poverty in the region sits at 23 per cent (2013, UN), more than 10 per cent higher than the rest of Indonesia (2013, World Bank). Problems with agricultural development and deforestation exacerbate existing issues in the region. The East Nusa Tenggara region is one of the poorest regions in Indonesia and the world. It struggles with long dry seasons. Making it difficult for families to have access to clean and safe water further exacerbating living expenses.

NTT is one of the closest regions to Australia and one of the poorest regions in the world. Whilst Australia is one of the richest places in the world.

Map of East Nusa Tenggara and surrounding region. Photo: Google Maps

Map of East Nusa Tenggara and surrounding region. Photo: Google Maps

This is where the Nusa Tenggara Association steps in. The NTA since 1988 have worked in the NTT region to help bring more people above the poverty line. At any given time there are 150-200 projects being managed by the NTA. They work with local NGOs and the community to provide access to water, building wells, access to schools, education, and libraries to improve the lives of over 10,000 people. The NTA also put back 90 per cent of their funds directly back into the community. On the Australian side they are based completely on volunteers. This is all thanks to the amazing work of Dr Colin Barlow.

So, what is Beat the Dry? Drinking just water for two weeks (eating whatever you like) whilst raising much needed funding for the continuation of NTA projects. Given the drought and poor access to water in the region the campaign aims to raise awareness of the situation of the NTT region. Water in the NTT region is difficult to attain, taking children away from school and their parents away from other important work. To Beat the Dry, would give participants a very small insight into the monotony of drinking only water, whilst raising money for a campaign that changes lives.

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beat the dry