Women Leaders in IndonesiaThis summer, the Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) began its second annual Indonesia Accelerator for Grassroots Women Environmental Leaders. The Accelerator program supports 60 initiatives across 28 regions of Indonesia. It provides resources and training for women leaders in Indonesia to support the environment and their communities through grassroots programs.

Why Focus on Indonesia?

Indonesia is currently the fifth largest producer of greenhouse gases. The country’s emissions rose 3% just last year. WEA finds that “in this moment of environmental crisis, Indonesia is ground zero.” The large and rising greenhouse gas emissions in the country counters progress that other countries are making to limit emissions and prevent global warming.

Global warming has effects on all sectors of society, including agriculture and the economy. This issue especially impacts women, so WEA plans to lift up women leaders in Indonesia who are both the most affected by and the most determined to fix these environmental and societal issues.

What the Accelerator Program Does

The program focuses on the pillars of impact, awareness, and access. Women leaders in Indonesia apply to the program with a project plan to fix a certain issue in their community. Those who are accepted go through a comprehensive training program. This program teaches them to maximize the impact of their efforts, gain awareness and support from the public and strengthen community networks. This knowledge will allow these women to influence others to rise up and implement social projects of their own.

Program participants go through a four-month curriculum that is hands-on, teamwork-oriented and doesn’t interfere with daily life or jobs. They come together over group video calls for webinars or small group discussions and receive mentors, as well as tools and other resources for learning or extending their impact.

The curriculum includes movement-building skills such as networking and campaigning. It also includes economic skills like building a revenue stream, environmental skills and social skills like how to best care for their communities. The program assists them in building a comprehensive Action Plan to grow their proposed initiatives into professional movements. Additionally, they receive guidance through a global network of WEA alumni, mentors, and supporters. The women leaders in Indonesia also receive some funds to implement their initiatives.

Initiatives in Action

This year, Winda Arianti of West Sumater is participating in the Accelerator program in the hopes of using alternative economic development strategies, such as encouraging ecotourism, to support women in Indonesia. She is currently a leader at Wahli Sumbar, an NGO in Padang, Indonesia. Arianti oversees about 500 people who support these economic development projects.

Arianti’s project aims to stimulate her local economy using environmentally-friendly strategies while employing underprivileged women along the way. WEA’s program will help her grow her impact, help more women and move the economy towards sustainability.

Maria Patricia Wata Beribe, a facilitator at Campus Without Walls, hopes to use this opportunity to encourage local youth to be activists and stewards in their own communities. Her experiences as a field officer for the Tananua Flores Foundation and VECO Rikolto Indonesia exposed her to women’s lack of access to education, skill-building and healthcare in agricultural communities. She also gained experience in sustainable development and local government issues.

Beribe currently works to bring college students and village youth together in order to reconnect with their culture and homes. Her initiative aims to assist Indonesian youth in becoming activists who love their communities and work hard to support them using business ventures, sustainable practices and more.

WEA’s Indonesia Accelerator for Grassroots Women Environmental Leaders program amplifies the voices of women leaders in Indonesia.  The initiative provides Indonesian women with the support they need to make large scale positive changes in their communities.

– Kathy Wei
Photo: Wikimedia