Earlier this year I had the privilege of travelling with two of our Blog Ambassadors to Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Here we witnessed the great work being done by World Vision with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
The region we visited is being affected by climate change which is impacting the livelihoods of the locals. The unpredictability of the wet and dry seasons makes it difficult for the community to plan for the future, especially as many of the people rely on farming to survive. World Vision’s project in the region is designed to increase the communities’ resilience to climate change and help improve their livelihoods.
We met a group of women trained in producing and selling plates made from natural resources. Something as simple as a plate made of coconut leaves is more environmentally friendly than those made from non-biodegradable materials. And coconut leaves are so widely available in this part of Indonesia – something that would otherwise go to waste is now being put to great use. The women also produce beautiful hand-made crafts and kindly gave us a first-hand demonstration.
Not only has this project helped these women find ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change in their area, it’s provided them with a source of income. This group of women can make up to 12 plates a day which are then sold at supermarkets. The plates are so popular within the community that people now order them in advance. Sometimes the plates are even hired out for local events such as weddings!
Having a means to support yourself and your family is empowering. Before the program, many women stayed at home or occasionally worked in the rice fields nearby. When asked how they benefited from this initiative, a resounding response was the ability to now buy school supplies for their children. Rosa is one of the women involved in the program, she says “Thank you to Australia for this help, we and our children are very thankful. We thank you for being given the chance to be more creative.”
We also met Yenny, an entrepreneur running her own moringa snack business. With the help of some training, Yenny has succeeded in becoming one of the only moringa snack sellers in the region. The moringa plant is readily available in the area and has many health benefits. World Vision has provided training on how to grow and cultivate moringa to farmers in the area. Yenny’s snacks are popular year- round and a best seller during key holidays such as Christmas and Eid.
At World Vision we know that real transformation happens – and lasts – when communities are empowered to change their own circumstances. I have seen this first-hand and truly believe that the amazing women we met have a wonderful future ahead of them.