Dryland Sustainable Livelihoods: Role of Clan and Customary Laws in West Timor, Indonesia

By Yenny Tjoe.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 4, 2016 $US5.00

Subsistence farming is one of the essential features of dryland regions to support people in coping with drought and rainfall variability. This paper examines the livelihoods of Atoin Meto, a tribal community that practices subsistence corn growing in dryland West Timor. It discusses the role of clan system and customary laws in the livelihoods of this tribal people. This study finds that the role of the Meto clan system and customary laws is twofold: It has contributed to reducing livelihood vulnerability in the region via the management of community forest resources and maintenance of members’ rights to access farmland and natural resources. On the other hand, it also provides the opportunity for a misuse of power by official village heads and hinders the process of development. Qualitative data were collected through group interviews, in-depth key informant interviews, and participant observation. This finding implies that in order for this tribe to increase its capacity for sustainable rural development in dryland regions, future development policy for this region needs to find ways and means to improve local governance and replace corrupt village officials.

Keywords: Sustainable Livelihoods, Clan Belief, Subsistence, Village Head, Drylands, Meto People

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 4, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 992.692KB)).

Yenny Tjoe

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith Business School, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development for Indonesia, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia