Inspiring Wonder Women through a learning trip
by Ina Saptiono
Since 2011, Kopernik has been working with women across Indonesia to economically empower them through our Wonder Women program. The women receive three levels of training covering topics such as financial management, bookkeeping, and marketing in order to equip them with the necessary skills to sell clean energy technologies within their communities. But outside of this training, Kopernik also facilitates other activities such as social gatherings and opportunities to learn new things and exchange ideas with one another.
An example of this is the Wonder Women Annual Gathering, held at the end of each year. This year we planned a learning trip to a community-led permaculture centre. So, besides serving as a social event, the trip aimed to encourage and inspire our Wonder Women through other social enterprise ideas and initiatives. We believe that by encouraging thinking outside the box, these women can foster their creativity and enrich their knowledge for new ideas to arise.
We invited 52 women from both Tuban and Bojonegoro to go on the trip. The group visited Bumi Langit Institute in Yogyakarta to learn about green and sustainable business practices.
Learning and getting inspired
Bumi Langit Institute is a community-based learning center on natural living and permaculture. They encourage people to understand the importance of a balanced living between humans and nature. At the institute, our Wonder Women learned about permaculture practices, making homemade peanut butter, and making organic soap. Since many of these women also run their own side businesses, the training was relevant and gave them ideas for improving their businesses.
Ibu Dar, the co-founder of Bumi Langit is a social entrepreneur herself. Her ability to utilize the talents of the local people and make use of locally available produces is remarkable. Originally from Padang, West Sumatra, she was ‘born to be a cook’ like many people from that region. After moving to Yogyakarta and seeing the potential in organic food sources at Bumi Langit’s garden, she set up a small organic restaurant which became popular in the area. Not long after, she started producing and selling organically-grown packaged food such as peanut butter, strawberry jam, and cassava chips.
Ibu Dar delivered some trainings at the event, including how to make homemade peanut butter. She explained that producing a high-quality product is the key to maximizing sales.
Ibu Anna, from Bojonegoro, was inspired by this presentation and wants to support local produces back home. “It’s apparently quite easy to make peanut butter and we grow a lot of peanuts back home. So, I think I will try making it at home,”
Bumi Langit also facilitated inspiring lessons about natural living and green business practice. By working in balance with nature, business can be more sustainable as natural resources are protected and preserved. They explained it is important for a business owner to create high-quality products without damaging the environment. Since most of the people in Bojonegoro and Tuban are farmers, the institute’s speciality on permaculture and how it can improve farming output was well-regarded by all attendees.
At the end of the day, responses from our Wonder Women were very positive. The trip brought them new perspectives and inspiring lessons. Besides this, many of the women never had the chance to travel outside their hometown. So allowing even this opportunity encouraged exploration of new ideas, places and different things.
“The trip was so fun! It was incredible and I had a great time!” said Ibu Tun a Wonder Woman from Bojonegoro enthusiastically. But beyond the learning, they were also glad to socialise with each other and remember that they are all part of a team.
Kopernik is currently looking into new ways to encourage more business innovation for our Wonder Women in the East Java region. Look out for more from us soon.
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