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WEA Women of the 2019 Indonesia Accelerator: Putu Ayu Aniek

Project: Building Climate Resiliency in Indonesia

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Putu Ayu Aniek is a community organizer from Bali, Indonesia. Growing up in Bali, Aniek felt first-hand the growing impact of tourism on her community. Realizing how tourism could easily degrade the culture and people of her community, she has made it her mission to create a more holistic and sustainable avenue for tourism in her hometown. As the Project Lead for Kelecung Kelod Tourism, she works closely with members of her community as a leader to create experiences for tourists that highlight the natural beauty of her village, while also preserving the local culture and protecting natural resources.

In addition to ecotourism, Aniek is passionate about empowering and educating the women and children of her community. In her training programs she emphasizes sustainable living in the hopes of generating greater awareness around the importance of preserving the environment and the role it plays in her community’s lives and livelihoods. As Aniek’s message spreads throughout her community, she recognizes the need to develop certain skills and knowledge in order to extend her efforts. 

In this spirit of growth, Aniek is participating in the 2019 Indonesia Women’s Earth Alliance. The Accelerator will provide her with opportunities to expand her knowledge on environmental technologies, networks, and support that can strengthen her ability as an advocate to create even more positive change in her community and beyond. While participating in online skill-building, working groups, and collaborations with other leaders and advocates, Aniek will build a network of allies that will support and empower her efforts to continue fomenting change in the sustainable tourism industry in her community in Bali. 

After the accelerator, Aniek will return to her community with new strategies for community engagement, knowledge to share, and a heightened ability to engage those around her to further the sustainability and equality of her community.

Read more about the 2019 Indonesia Women’s Earth Alliance Accelerator, and stay updated on how the women leaders are doing on the WEA-Indonesia Facebook page

WEA Women of the 2019 Indonesia Accelerator: Rubama

Project: Building Climate Resiliency in Indonesia

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Rubama is a community organizer from Aceh, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She has worked for fourteen years to engage the women of her community in an effort to protect the natural resources of the region. 

After her region was ravaged by a tsunami in 2004, Rubama recognized how the approach to disaster relief resulted in the degradation of the community social fabric and values, and how women became an increasingly vulnerable group in an already patriarchal society. Equipped with a vision and her personal mission of community resilience, Rubama strove to regain social cohesion while promoting sustainability and created a waste management program for her village. She continues to develop this resilience through her current work at the Gampong Nusa community, which she has transformed into a sustainable tourism destination. Rubama has advocated for the local community to adopt sustainable waste management, has trained women about upcycling plastic waste and composting, and has developed alternative economic revenue for the local community.

As an organizer, she is deeply passionate about establishing ecological justice based on gender-equality in her community. Working alongside other women in Aceh, Rubama collaborates with and trains them in creating handiwork, growing produce, and upcycling. Rubama also gives local women’s groups the platform they need in order to voice their concerns and fight for their rights in realizing ecological justice. She promotes social forestry, a village forest strategy which includes and encourages women’s engagement in discussing issues that disproportionately impact them. In this spirit, Rubama serves as a program officer for HAkA, an Aceh-based NGO working to restore the forest and protect the overall environment.

Rubama is furthering her advocacy work through networking and education, and will be apart of the 2019 Women’s Earth Alliance Indonesia Accelerator. She hopes to gain knowledge on project management tools and avenues of impact assessment to help strengthen her existing community organization skills. During this accelerator WEA will work with Rubama, along with her women leader peers, to develop strategies for effective communication, resource mobilization, and leadership, that will expand the reach and scale of their advocacy work. With this gained support and knowledge from the accelerator, Rubama will be able to return to Aceh with tools to advance her vision of gender-equality based ecological justice for her entire community, as well as a developed network to support and scale the impact of her work. 

Read more about the 2019 Indonesia Women’s Earth Alliance Accelerator, and stay updated on how the women leaders are doing on the WEA-Indonesia Facebook page.

WEA Women of the 2019 Indonesia Accelerator: Raihal Fajri

Project: Building Climate Resiliency in Indonesia

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Raihal Fajri is an activist from Aceh, Meunasah Manyang, Indonesia. After a tsunami devastated her region in 2004, Raihal witnessed a drastic deterioration in the quality of water coming from her community’s water source, which was located next to a nearby concrete mine. Noticing the way this pollution harmed the women and children of her area, she decided to take urgent action, engaging stakeholders such as the cement mine leadership, the government, and the media in the conversation. Furthermore, Raihal comes from a predominantly Muslim region which is governed by Sharia law, and she recognized the critical necessity of engaging her community’s religious leadership in order to make change possible.

By highlighting the connection between the Qur’an’s teachings and the importance of maintaining a healthy environment, Raihal garnered the support she needed to step into leadership and eventually mobilized her entire community around the issue. Her activism brought substantial attention to the mining pollution her community faced, and she succeeded in revoking the mine’s permission to operate.

Since then, Raihal has strived to find ways to extend her network and cultivate her advocacy around the need for a safe and healthy environment. Raihal currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kahati Institute, where she uses her experience as a mediator, analyst, and leader to influence public policy and encourage transparency in the environmental sector.

As a member of the 2019 Indonesia Women’s Earth Alliance Accelerator, Raihal will receive facilitated skill-building, knowledge exchanges with other leading environmental advocates like her, and work with groups that will dig deeper into environmental technologies, networks, and communities of practice from which she can draw in her activism. With this training and support system, Raihal will return to Aceh with a deeper understanding of how to best build her network and bring about policy changes that will ensure clean water and a healthier environment for her community and region. 

Read more about the 2019 Indonesia Women’s Earth Alliance Accelerator, and stay updated on how the women leaders are doing on the WEA-Indonesia Facebook page.

Meet the Interns: Hi, Ashley!

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“Women are the backbones of their communities, and yet they face marginalization on multiple fronts. If we are able to cultivate spaces where women’s rights and needs are prioritized rather than treated as an afterthought, entire communities will benefit.” – Ashley Vu, WEA Intern

To say we are incredibly fortunate and honored to be able to work with young women leaders like Ashley is an understatement. Ashley has been supporting the development of our recently launched grassroots accelerators, our donor stewardship program, and our organizational outreach with such care, dedication and attention to detail. Read on to get to her know more!

Name: Ashley Vu
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA

If you had a superpower, what would it would be (and why):
I would want to be able to teleport. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and being able to teleport would mean that I can do just that without breaking the bank (at least in terms of transportation).

Why did you want to intern with WEA?
I was taking an Environmental Health and Development class this past summer and my professor had mentioned a local non-profit organization called WEA, who was not only helping the environment but also doing so through uplifting and working directly with women leaders in the communities they were hoping to impact. I found WEA’s mission statement incredibly inspiring and began to follow them since.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
I would have to say my grandma. She practically raised me and as I’ve gotten older I realize how much she’s done for my family. She emigrated from Viet Nam in hopes of providing a better life for her seven children, raised those seven children as a single mother in a foreign country, and reminds all of her grandchildren to keep in touch with our Vietnamese culture. Even at 79 years old, she holds a light within her that shows no signs of dulling anytime soon. She is truly one of the most resilient and independent women I know and I hope to be at least half of the woman she is.

Why women and why the environment?
Women are the backbones of their communities, and yet they face marginalization on multiple fronts. If we are able to cultivate spaces where women’s rights and needs are prioritized rather than treated as an afterthought, entire communities will benefit.

The environment, as well, has been treated as an afterthought by many people, but the ways that it affects us are plentiful. Specifically, marginalized communities are the most impacted when they are the ones who are often the least responsible for the state of our planet. It’s about time we start treating climate change and environmental issues as urgent problems that need prompt addressing.

What does your life outside WEA look like?
I’m currently a senior at UC Berkeley studying Applied Mathematics, so this past semester (outside of WEA) has consisted of me trying to study my best while also trying to take in as much of Berkeley/the Bay Area as I can. I’m usually either studying, hanging out with friends, going thrift shopping, or trying new food places. My friends and I have a “bucket list” of restaurants and hiking spots we’ve been wanting to visit before we all graduate.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
I love the food scene in the Bay Area, specifically Berkeley; there’s so many different cuisines but also small Mom-and-Pop shops, which I love. My hometown is pretty diverse in food options, but oversaturated with a lot of food chain restaurants. Here, I’m able to get small glimpses of other cultures through their food and I’m also able to support small businesses whose establishments hold so much history and sentiment for the communities they reside in.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I’m currently reading Jung’s Map of the Soul by Murray Stein and Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. As for what I’m listening to, I’m always listening to the K-Pop group BTS (a lot of people don’t realize how thoughtful their lyrics are!) and have also been listening to a lot of H.E.R.