David Booth, acknowledged around the world for his contributions in sustainable community development, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for "Services to sustainable development in rural East Bali, Indonesia" in The Queen's 2004 Birthday Honors List.
Born in humble circumstances in Morecambe in the North West of England, David had to work in order to support his own education and obtain a hard fought university degree. Trained as a civil engineer, he worked on major construction projects in the UK and around for nearly two decades before adopting Indonesia as his home.
In his personal quest to assist the world community, David initially settled in Jakarta, where he also put his civil engineering skills to work on a humanitarian relief project on one of the most easterly islands in Indonesia. His growing Indonesian experience and keen desire to make a difference eventually led David to a forgotten Balinese village, only three hour's drive from Bali's luxury tourist resorts but decades away in terms of access to the health and economic benefits of modern development. Lost on the steep slopes of Bali's Mt. Agung, almost overlooked by their own government, and virtually unknown to the villagers just a few kilometers away - the small East Balinese community suffered from endemic iodine deficiencies – a problem exacerbated by lack of education, clean water, balanced diet and hygiene.
Determined to work with the local community on projects identified and embraced first and foremost by the community itself, David assisted as key elements needed to build a self-sustaining systematic solution to community's problems were put in place. By prioritizing goals – such as children's education, public health deficiencies and food security real changes have been introduced that have touched the lives of every member of that community.
According to David, no victory is small and some of the most rewarding have come as a complete surprise. For instance, there are the children who have turned established practices upside down by teaching their parents to read, about hygiene and how to practice crop rotation. Then there's the villager who, after discovering toilets on his first trip outside his village, installed one in his home and now proudly invites his neighbors to inspect his indoor plumbing.
Buoyed and inspired by the honor bestowed by Her Royal Highness, David and his hard working team at the East Bali Poverty Project continue to work toward their next major goal: a guarantee the villagers will enjoy food security by the year 2012.
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