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Empowering Rural Communities: CirclesUBI Local Champions in Jembrana, Bali

In north west Bali, Jembrana regency is known for its close-knit rural communities. With its residents primarily relying on fishing and farming, Jembrana is an area where traditional Balinese life thrives. Since July 2023, local champions have taken on the challenge of bringing Circles testing to rural communities in the area, a positive initiative that holds the potential to foster community-driven empowerment.

Jembrana is deeply rooted in its rural character. Most of the area’s residents rely on fishing and farming for their livelihood and supporting their families. People are spread out in small village clusters across the large regency, and within these clusters there are strong communal bonds and a diversity of cultural richness that make Jembrana a truly unique part of Bali.

The journey of in Jembrana began with a commitment from 6 local champions to learn and understand the CirclesUBI app. Together with trainers from the well-recognized local NGO Kalimajari they explored the app's functionalities and how it could serve their community's specific needs. From sharing equipment for fishing to addressing ceremonial requirements, the app's potential resonated with daily necessities in Jembrana. Other needs addressed by exchanges that can be fostered through use of the app include food, farming, utilities, health tonics, transportation, repair & construction services, salons & barbers, tailors and laundry services, tutoring and books.

This regency became a hub for a series of special events, implemented by Kalimajari team in collaboration with Koperasi KSS. These events, which spanned over several weeks in June and July 2023, were more than just outreach activities, bazaars and workshops; they were incubators of trust, understanding, and connectedness.

Adoption of a digital solution in Jembrana's location came with challenges, and the local champions worked hard to ensure as many people as possible were not deterred from using the app even in areas with low connectivity.

Another hurdle in this area was low digital literacy. Ensuring that local community testers in this area would be able to use the app effectively was no small feat. With determination, the Jembrana local champions selected users willing to make the effort and helped them overcome their reservations about technology.

The local champions in Jembrana are actively engaging with community members, showing them how the app can empower their lives. As research participants in the region worked with their local champions to delve into the app's features, and were introduced to the essential heart of the CirclesUBI experience—the digital Circles Points. Universal Basic Income or UBI delivered as a daily addition of 24 Circles Points to each users’ virtual wallet wasn't just a number; it was a symbol of consistent support and stability that provided new considerations around contributing to personal, family and community daily needs.

Sending and receiving Circles Points was more than a transaction; it created valuable connections through shared purpose and community solidarity.

Trust connections within the CirclesUBI community are paramount, as users can only send their personal digital Circles Points to those with whom they have an established direct or networked connection. The contacts feature of the application shows which of the people in your Circles community you have trusted, has trusted you, and with whom you have mutual trust. These trust connections ensure secure transactions, just like the Jembrana community's support for each other's growth.

To date, among those particularly motivated by this initiative are the local youth. Empowered by their newfound digital literacy, they are stepping up to guide their elders through the app and bridge generational gaps.

In Jembrana, CirclesUBI local champions are weaving a narrative of empowerment, unity, and progress. By bringing the app to their communities, they are not just embracing change but also shaping a more resilient future. This grassroots movement exemplifies how technology, when harnessed with purpose and passion, can empower even the most remote corners of the world.

As the beta app testing continues in Jembrana, more and more people are coming together around a common vision and shared purpose of supporting each other to find creative, community-based ways to address personal, family and community basic needs.

#CirclesUBI #CirclesUBILocalImpact #CirclesUBINetwork #CirclesUBICommunityEngagement #CirclesUBIEmpowerment #CirclesUBIPositiveChange

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