Category: Indonesia

Category: Indonesia

Solidarity & Peace Amidst the Pandemic: Young Women Leaders Meet Online for the First-Ever Global Dialogue

Solidarity & Peace Amidst the Pandemic: Young Women Leaders Meet Online for the First-Ever Global Dialogue

April 23, 2020 by Heela Yoon and Katrina Leclerc

Edited by Mavic Cabrera-Balleza and Agnieszka Fal Dutra-Santos

“Afghan women have been fighting for their right to be meaningfully included in the peace process with the Taliban throughout the past 20 years. Today, we are afraid that amidst the COVID-19 crisis, this progress will be lost, and provisions on women rights will be removed from the peace agreement.” This concern, shared by Sadaf Tahib, the Communication Associate of Afghan Women Welfare and Development Association (AWWDA), was echoed by many of over 50 youth peacebuilders from 11 countries, who came together in an online meeting to share their experiences of preventing conflict and violent extremism, building peace, and addressing the COVID-19 outbreak in their communities.

The meeting was organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), with support from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, on April 15, 2020. It was the first-time members of GNWP’s Young Women Leaders for Peace (YWL) program from Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Sudan, came together. They were joined by women and youth leaders from Afghanistan, Georgia, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Ukraine. By discussing the peace and security problems and the solutions to them amidst the pandemic and despite network connectivity issues, the women and youth peacebuilders sent a powerful message: COVID-19 will not stop us!

The event was also an opportunity to launch the Toolkit and Film for Young Women and Girls on Literacy, Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Media, and Theater. The toolkit and film are evidence-based, context-specific resources for elevating the voices and work of young women in preventing conflict and violent extremism drawn from GNWP’s work. They were developed based on the experiences of young women peacebuilders in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and good practices drawn from GNWP’s work around the world.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows including the aggravated levels of personal anxiety and stress, the women and peacebuilders underscored the need to hold regular discussions and continue supporting each other. Members of the YWL shared their frontline initiatives to reduce the negative impacts of COVID-19 on women and youth peacebuilders. This is showcased in the new podcast ‘GNWP Talks Women, Peace and Security’: Episode 25 on the Young Women Leaders Global Dialogue.

Young women’s frontline leadership

Speaking from Bangladesh, Young Women Leaders Machen Hia and Mathenu Rakhine, shared that they joined the YWL program to “make sure that there is peace and gender equality in [their] community in Cox’s Bazar.” They emphasized that there is still a lot of challenges, and highlighted their contributions to improving the gender sensitivity of humanitarian emergency response to the influx of 1.3 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. They also shared their experience pre-COVID of conducting gender-sensitive, age-appropriate fundamental literacy and numeracy classes to Rohingya refugee and host community women and girls.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Young Women Leaders are workingto prevent, support and counter increased sexualized violence during the pandemic. During the meeting, Emilie Katondolo and Nicole Musimbi, shared that this work includes using media and technology to dismantle and challenge narratives of ‘victims’ to ‘survivors’ of sexual violence, and ensuring accurate and updated information is provided to women and youth across the communities of Eastern DRC. “Through our program, we try to provide women with opportunities to make income, so that they can improve their financial situation and change their life,” said Nicole.

In Indonesia, Young Women Leaders for Peace, conduct community-level advocacy on women’s rights; gender equality; youth, peace and security (YPS); and human security. Prior to COVID-19, young women have held advocacy meetings in their communities and have developed strong relationships with district-level leaders. Nur Aisyah Maullidah, Ilmiyah Maslahatul and Ririn Anggraeni, shared that since the COVID-19 outbreak, the YWL Indonesia have held online English classes to continue their capacity-building amidst the pandemic.

In the Philippines, Young Women Leaders are also at the forefront of COVID-19 response. Sophia Garcia and Lynrose Genon, presented that young women are distributing face masks, disinfectants, and ‘dignity kits’ to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls are met. These kits are prepared by YWL members and distributed to internally displaced women and youth in Sagonsongan Transitional Temporary Shelter in Marawi, a city ravaged by armed conflict between extremist groups and the Philippine Armed Forces.

Speaking from South Sudan, Elizabeth Biniya, a member ofYoung Women Leaders, and Nyuon Susan Sebit, former Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow at GNWP, discussed their efforts in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local populations. The South Sudanese young women leaders are using community radio to raise awareness of domestic violence and the available support for those affected. They also disseminate information on preventive measures such as hand washing and social distancing. Additionally, the South Sudanese Young Women Leaders organize theater performances in Torit, South Sudan to raise awareness on women’s rights, gender equality, and peace and security among local populations.

In today’s complex and interconnected world, it is important to recognize and promote the synergies between the women and peace and security (WPS) and youth and peace and security (YPS) agendas and how they are linked to humanitarian emergencies. This is highlighted during this global COVID-19 pandemic as we see young women peacebuilders who step up and become first responders in their local communities. In doing so, they not only mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis but they also secure the gains of Afghan women and all other women and youth peacebuilders who have been demanding to meaningfully participate in peace processes and all levels of decision-making.

Want to support young women leading on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic? Share and donate here.

GNWP is grateful for the support of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; and the collaboration of the Asian Muslim Action Network – Indonesia and Jago Nari Unnayon Sangsta – Bangladesh for the production of the Toolkit and Film.

Please see also other articles produced by the GNWP on COVID-19 and the women and peace and security, and youth and peace and security agendas:

Charting a Feminist Present and Future: Young Women for Peace and Leadership Program Recognized by the United Nations Secretary-General in Report to Security Council on UNSCR 2250

From DRC to Indonesia, from Bangladesh to South Sudan, young women defy gender and age stereotypes and act as leaders, peacebuilders and agents of change in their communities. They are first responders in humanitarian crises, prevent recruitment by violent groups by building a culture of peace, and set up small businesses to increase their financial independence and support their families. In the absence of formal mechanisms and opportunities to meaningfully participate in peace processes and social, political and economic life, young women have forged their own avenues to lead peacebuilding efforts and movements for progressive social transformation.

Learning Together, Inspiring Each Other: Regional Girl Ambassadors for Peace Training in Bangladesh and Indonesia

Learning Together, Inspiring Each Other: Regional Girl Ambassadors for Peace Training in Bangladesh and Indonesia

November 13, 2019 by Mallika Iyer  

Edited by Mavic Cabrera Balleza

“I used to be like the moon, receiving light from only one star. I was focused only on my personal interests and education. After joining the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program, I have learned that women are empowered by so many international laws and capable of anything they set their minds to. I’m like the sun now. I can provide light to help other young women grow,” Elza, a young woman from Lamongan, East Java, Indonesia shared.

With support from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders has created a strong network of 110 young women leaders in conflict situations and humanitarian emergencies in Bangladesh and Indonesia who support and inspire each other to realize their full potentials as leaders, peacebuilders, and change agents addressing peacebuilding and preventing and countering violent extremism in their communities. By promoting synergies between the Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) and Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agendas, the Girl Ambassadors for Peace, a member of GNWP’s Young Women for Peace and Leadership (YWPL) program, has enhanced the leadership potential and peacebuilding skills of young women who, as significant actors in their local communities, contribute to an invincible youth movement for peace, equality, and sustainable development.

Between September 3 and 9, 2019, GNWP and its local partners organized a regional Girl Ambassadors for Peace (GA4P) training in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to foster solidarity between young women leaders in Bangladesh and Indonesia. The training also facilitated information and experience-sharing of good practices and lessons learned in their efforts to advocate for the role of young women in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism in both countries and strengthened the regional youth network of young women peacebuilders.

Guided by expert advice and facilitation from GNWP Board Members Bandana Rana, CEDAW Committee Chair from Nepal, and Independent Senator Marilou McPhedran from Canada, the GA4P from Bangladesh and Indonesia who participated in the regional training compared and contrasted the peace and security situations in their countries and communities. They identified common issues such as the prevalence of early, forced, and child marriage, radical and violent extremist groups, and gender inequality perpetuated by social norms and antiquated laws.

Bangladesh has the second-highest the prevalence of early, forced, and child marriage in the world; similarly, Indonesia has approximately 1,459,000 child brides, the eighth highest absolute number of child brides in the world.[1] Many of the GA4P in Bangladesh and Indonesia personally experience familial – or societally-induced – early, forced, and child marriage.[2] “My parents hide my school bag and books in an effort to prevent me from going to school. They are forcing me to get married. That prompted me to run away from my home. Now that I am living alone, it is difficult for me to financially support myself and pay my school fees,” a GA4P from Bangladesh, shared during the regional training. In response, the GA4P from Indonesia drafted and distributed a statement condemning early, forced, and child marriage, as a fundamental violation of human rights, which denies girls their childhood, disrupts higher education, limits socio-economic opportunities, increases the risk of intimate partner violence, and threatens the health of girls and young women. During the regional training, the Indonesian GA4P shared their experiences in collecting signatures from prominent local youth and civil society organizations for the statement. They explained how they were able to effectively communicate their demands to district-level leaders such as the Regent and Vice-Regent of Poso, Central Sulawesi, and Lamongan, East Java, resulting in these leaders’ support for all effective and appropriate measures to abolish traditional practices, which permit or support early, forced, and child marriage.

During the regional training, the young women also discussed the importance of regional advocacy for gender-responsiveness to humanitarian emergencies such as the Rohingya crisis. Rohingya refugee women and girls in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh live in overcrowded and mismanaged camps, where they remain vulnerable to sexual violence, devastating floods, and cyclones. Indonesia too is reported to be hosting a population of 12,000 Rohingya refugees in Aceh, Sulawesi, and North Sumatra. Despite significant cultural and language barriers, Indonesians in small fishing communities in Aceh have been welcoming and sympathetic to the refugees, offering food, shelter, and other donations. However, as time has passed, humanitarian relief aid provided by international organizations and the Indonesian government has been depleted. Meanwhile, the number of reports of Rohingya refugees attempting to smuggle themselves to Indonesia and Malaysia in rickety fishing boats in order to escape the dire conditions in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh is steadily increasing. It has become clear that regional cooperation is necessary to address the treatment of the Rohingya people.

Local Bangladeshi women from host communities and Rohingya women and girl refugees living in refugee camps continue to face marginalization and discrimination as a result of the lack of access to education and other basic social services. To curb gender discrimination and improve access to education, the Bangladeshi GA4P have conducted 20 gender-sensitive, age-appropriate functional literacy and numeracy classes with over 180 women and girls. In addition to empowering Rohingya refugee and host community women to read and write, the literacy classes provided a safe space for Rohingya refugee women to share personal issues related to sexual violence in the camps (including intimate partner violence), child marriage, security concerns, and dowries. The GA4P in Bangladesh play a crucial role in dispelling anti-Rohingya rhetoric and negative perceptions developing within host communities as a result of unequal access to and competing demands for resources and social services. The young women work to create positive dialogues between the two communities, beginning with providing basic literacy and numeracy education to Rohingya refugee and Bangladeshi host community women in Cox’s Bazar.

The Indonesian young women observed their Bangladeshi counterparts as they facilitated a gender-sensitive, age-appropriate functional literacy and numeracy class with Rohingya refugee women and girls in Balukhali Refugee Camp (Camp 9). Inspired by the leadership and teaching skills of the Bangladeshi young women, the Indonesian GA4P committed to working together to develop joint advocacy strategies to support the empowerment of Rohingya refugee women and girls in both countries.

Ultimately, learning about the experiences of other young women leaders in similar yet different cultural, socio-political, and economic contexts during the regional training inspired and motivated the GA4P to further the youth-led advocacy movement for sustainable peace and development. The Girl Ambassadors for Peace are a strong and diverse regional network of young women who represent different religions and ethnic minorities. With enhanced capacities as leaders, peacebuilders, and change agents, the Girl Ambassadors for Peace continue to contribute to gender equality, sustainable development and inclusive and long-lasting peace in their local communities. 


[1] https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/indonesia/, accessed 07-27-2019

[2] https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/indonesia/, accessed 07-27-2019

Why must Indonesia’s Youth Vote?

May 22, 2019 by Nur Aisyah Maullidah, Girl Ambassador for Peace – Jakarta
 
In Indonesia, seventeen percent of children live with nutritional problems, while approximately thirty-one thousand high school teens drop out of school every year because of economic barriers. Furthermore, over one hundred thousand children are child laborers. As a result, poverty, economic inequality, barriers to education, energy distribution, and environmental degradation significantly impact the quality of life of Indonesians.
The institutional barriers that are ingrained within Indonesian society require long-term solutions that address the specific needs of different demographics within the country. Every citizen plays an integral role in re-building the country, promoting development, and changing the social norms within society. In addition, the government plays a significant role in addressing the social and structural barriers within the country. As a result, the country’s political leader, and elections, are important to Indonesians’ quality of life, in particular, for Indonesian youth. The President’s platform and priorities impact a wide range of government institutions and services. Therefore, everything from educational opportunities to health care are impacted by the elections of the central government.
In 2019, approximately 5 million new voters received voting rights for the April 17, 2019 election. The new voter base contributed to 35-40% of the total number of eligible voters. The new voters are primarily younger citizens, and elections give young people the opportunity to make a significant change with their votes. Information on legislative and presidential candidates will help voters make informed decisions. Sharing information across many platforms, including online news platforms, social media, television and newspapers, will support new voters determine how to exercise their voting rights. It is important that all information is accurate and from trusted sources. Relevant institutions, namely the KPU (General Election Commission) have helped to facilitate the process of voter participation by helping to inform voters of the different mechanisms of the election. As a result, individuals are given the information necessary to participate in the election process, thus decreasing barriers to voting. The informational campaigns attempt to decrease ignorance amongst voters, as it is important that young people are educated when deciding the future leaders of their country.
Building leadership skills can start through simple things, such as being able to make informed decisions when casting your vote. Choosing a leader is a right possessed by young people, and it has the potential to sharpen their own leadership skills. Leaders are role models; as a result, they impact the leadership development of the young people within the country. If young people don’t vote, then how will they become leaders in the future? As engaged citizens, young people must use their right to vote wisely for a better future for their country.
 
Read the full blog on the recent activities in Indonesia: https://gnwp.org/indonesia-ga4p-empower/

Indonesia’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace empower their communities as they empower themselves

Indonesia’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace empower their communities as they empower themselves

May 1, 2019 by Mallika Iyer
 
“We want our cities to be known for their natural beauty, prosperity and peacefulness — not for the recruitment of violent extremists,” was the resounding message from the members of the Girl Ambassadors for Peace (GA4P) in Poso, Central Sulawesi, and Lamongan, East Java, Indonesia. Between April 7 th and 11 th , the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) in partnership with the Asian Muslim Action Network – Indonesia, with  the support of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment conducted “refresher training” on the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and the supporting Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) resolutions, UNSCR 2250 and 2419 on Youth, Peace, and Security. The training aimed to increase the knowledge of young women on the necessity for women’s participation in preventing conflict, peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism. It also included lessons on women’s economic empowerment, focusing on the entrepreneurial projects the GA4P will undertake.
 
Launched in November 2017 with a training on leadership, peacebuilding, economic empowerment, media, social media, and theater, the Girl Ambassadors for Peace Program in Indonesia is now a network of 80 young women leaders who contribute to a strong youth movement for long-lasting peace, equality, and sustainable development. These young women have become significant actors and agents of change in Poso and Lamongan, areas which have been described, during focus group discussions facilitated by GNWP, as hotbeds of radicalization. Participants in these focus group discussions emphasized economic exclusion through the lack of livelihood sources is one of the reasons why young people join extremist groups. In response to this threat, the GA4P members have started their own socio-economic enterprises to support themselves, augment their family incomes, and help their local communities. The GA4P members produce and sell online 3D handicraft greetings and bouquets made of hijab, skin care products, banana fritters, and shaved ice. In addition, they are helping a group of farmers promote and sell their organic produce online. During the refresher training, GNWP invited a local entrepreneur to speak about her business and train the GA4P members in producing, promoting, and marketing hijab accessories. By collaborating with local businesses, the GA4P members are not only economically empowering themselves, they are also contributing to the economic development in their communities, which is an important driver of peace and stability.
 
Young Peacebuilders
 
As active members of their communities, the Girl Ambassadors for Peace have been advocating for greater representation of young women in peacebuilding and political-decision making in national, regional, and local arenas. On the national level, these young women have shared their valuable perspectives in meetings in Jakarta with representatives of the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, the National Agency for Combating Terrorism, UNDP, and UN Women. “I have the knowledge and confidence to lead myself and others. I’ve learned that women can do everything,” explained Ilmiyah, a Girl Ambassador for Peace from Lamongan. In their local communities, the young women have held meetings district-level leaders (such as Regent and Vice-Regent of Poso and Lamongan).
 
The GA4P’s advocacy efforts extends to visiting local schools to raise awareness of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Following the bombing attacks in Surabaya, East Java in May 2018, they wrote blogs and posted messages on social media expressing the zero-tolerance policy for violence in Islam.
 
Youth as humanitarian actors
 
The GA4P members in Poso were some of the first responders during the earthquake that devastated Central Sulawesi in September 2018. They raised funds by selling dumplings and clothes and from the earnings, they bought and distributed relief goods to affected families.
                                                            
Youth must exercise their right to vote
 
Prior to the recent national elections, GA4P members held discussions on the importance of youth participation in elections, as young Indonesians make up 50 per cent of the eligible 191 million voters.
 
The Girl Ambassadors for Peace in Poso and Lamongan plan to continue and expand their work to include intergenerational community dialogues on early and forced marriage, another highly prevalent challenge to the achievement of gender equality.