Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
In the second part of the Butterfly Effect series, IWE-WELDD shares testimonials from participants of their programmes in Indonesia. The following posts will explain three of their projects, and will contain snippets of words that women have spoken about their experiences; words that will show the ripple effect that the WELDD project has left in each of them. These powerful snippets are reminiscent of the flaps of a butterfly’s wing, and have set in motion a hurricane in the future.
Solidaritas Perempuan Community in Palembang (SPPalembang) is one of the partners of WELDD that has been working with IWE since 2013. This engagement is based on the need and initiative of women that who been organized by SP Palembang. Collaboration between IWE and SP Palembang involves more than 25 women from two villages: Lubuk Sakti Village and Sri Bandung Village. The IWE-WELDD Programme was important in strengthening the capacity of women with regards to the challenges in mapping the problems they face, identifying potential resources and managing their land for their welfare. These efforts are initiated under the theme of Access to Land Rights, and control over sources of life.
During a sharing session involving women from the two villages engaged in the WELDD Program, it was identified that one of the challenges they face is that they may not be fully aware of the actual situation in their village. This lack of adequate knowledge causes women from both villages to be unaware of the fact that they have been experiencing multi-layers of violence, discrimination and double burden.
The WELDD programme, in collaboration with SP Palembang, initiated capacity-building both at the level of critical consciousness and the level of identification of their issues through the workshop, Mapping of Situation of Women using the PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal)method. Through PRA, women in Lubuk Sakti and Sri Bandung Village joined IWE to comprehensively map out the problems that they are facing including domestic violence. They also mapped the economic potential of the village that has not been well managed.
Through the workshop on Mapping using the PRA method, women involved in IWE-WELDD in collaboration with SP Palembang are not only building their capacity on the issue of land rights and access and control towards resources of life but also strengthen their capacity to transform themselves to challenge the violence in their lives and build the confidence needed to speak out in public, during village meetings and assembly among village leaders.
At the moment, WELDD program has become a source of inspiration for women from Sri Bandung and Lubuk Sakti Village to establish a platform for women to create alternative businesses that they named ‘Rangkai Bunga’ (Bouquet of Flowers Group). This platform is part of the continuous process of capacity building and a medium to continue inspiring other women to build alternative businesses from the existing resources around them. Through ‘Rangkai Bunga’ they produce organic fertilizer to fertilize their land. The PRA Workshop committed was able to make women understand about their own potential, especially happy and encouraged because they are able to map out their village, draw the boundaries, determine land ownership and identify the actual condition of their villages.
Experiences from joining the program of WELDD IWE – SP Palembang, particularly after attending the workshop on ‘Mapping Women’s Situation using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) Method with gender equality and justice perspective” 
“During the training with SP and IWE, I learned a lot of new things. When I am back in my village I want to transfer the knowledge to other women, I want to motivate them to make changes.” (Nurjanah, Desa Lubuk Sakti)
“This is my first time attending PRA training. I really enjoyed this process both in class and in outdoor sessions. We actually have experience in mapping (social issues) but not as detailed as this. Although I am old now, I am still motivated to learn even more.” (Eka, Palembang)
“When I decided to join the activity of SP and IWE, I wanted to learn to speak my mind. Then, I joined discussions and meetings hosted by SP and IWE and I gained a lot of knowledge. I have self confidence to talk, I got better at understanding my rights as a woman. Before joining I was not aware of legal, social and land rights, I also realised that even at the village level there are a number of insititutions which are responsible to support the villagers. So after this, I became eager to find out if there are any programs or activities for women at village level. I want to utilise the knowledge I gained to move forward to change myself and other women to contribute to my village. Now I am aware of the village institutions and the issues facing our villages, I really need this knowldge. Hence, becoming part of SP is an outstanding opportunity for me, I will use it well.” (Emi, Desa Sribandung)
“I am so thankful to be involved in the PRA(Participatory Rural Assessment) training. I have not been exposed to this kind of activity for a very long time. PRA is new knowledge for me which has opened my mind. From the process that I have gone through with SP and IWE, I have increased knowledge, I learned a lot from the women who participated in the discussion and training and also from the facilitator. The knowledge increased my self confidence enabling me to talk in public. After attending the discussion and training facilitated by SP and IWE I intend to apply the knowledge in my village. For example, I will become more active in village activities and contribute by providing my opinion on advancing the lives of women and girls.” (Yeni, Desa Lubuk Sakti)
“I am no longer young, perhaps I am the oldest among other friends here, but I feel fortunate that despite my age I have the opportunity to get involved in such an activity. I was not expecting the PRA to be like this; it is very complete, we have training and exercises in class. PRA is very useful knowledge, we can utilise it to map out women’s situation at the community level. I think it is not easy to gain this knowledge from formal education processes at all levels. In SP Palembang we were not aware of the real condition and situation of people surrounding us particularly women’s situation because we have not mapped the issues. Therefore PRA is very useful and we can utilise it to better understand the situation and condition of women at SP project locations.” (Narti, Palembang)
“Before joining the WELDD-IWE program I was one of the active members at SP Palembang, but I only knew a few other SP members. Now, after joining this activity, I feel I know them more and we are closer to one another. During the PRA workshop I could sense a friendly athmosphere. I also liked the materials. I used to think that I knew everything about mapping but I realised that I know very little about it. During the workshop I become more aware of what PRA is, how to create village maps, tracking, exploring the village and looking at the existing potentials so that I know the real situation. I first thought that tracking is tricky but then I found it was actually exciting. I will use knowldege and skill on PRA to identify the situation and condition of women in the village. Now, I know that to find out women’s situation we should look to their living conditions and their surroundings. We need to know whether this contributes to empower women or not, so we have to see for ourselves and visit the field.”(Echi, Palembang)
“Before joining the WELDD-IWE SP, I was nervous and shy when I had to talk in front of public. The PRA workshop increased my knowledge and courage. I not only learned about PRA and village mapping, but I also now know how to produce Kemplang, akind of food from Palembang. Most of the villagers including women own home-based businesses in producing Kemplang. Exercising the PRA made me aware that I know very little about my own village, Sribandung, therefore I am willing to practice the experience that I got at Lubuk Sakti village to get to know more about my village and to ease our efforts to bring changes.”(Mita, Sribandung)
“We have had a women’s movement in our village since around 2000. SP came into our village and helped the women migrant workers who were abused by their employers. That was a long time ago, before WELDD and SP came women’s activities were stopped because everyone was busy. The presence of IWE-WELDD has raised our motivation, we started to revitalise farmers groups and enterprise groups called Rangkai Bunga. We realised that our activities did not reach other women living at sub-villages. IWE-WELDD has supported making these groups more active and reaching more women, not only the adults but also youth, so that we could work together to bring changes for better life of women.” (Anggraeni (Opo), Desa Lubuk Sakti)