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The Asia Foundation Launches Book on the Accomplishments of Women Forest Defenders in Indonesia

November 28, 2023 — On November 10, Indonesia National Heroes Day, in the City of Heroes, Surabaya, The Asia Foundation and Agna Komunika launched the book Perempuan Penjaga Hutan (Women Forest Defenders). The book is a product of our environmental governance unit’s work in the SETAPAK program, with contributions from women leaders in villages that receive support for forest defense efforts. It documents the experiences of women forest defenders in three provinces: Aceh, Bengkulu, and Central Sulawesi. The stories in the book exemplify the resilience and determination of women forest defenders despite facing significant barriers.

Following the launch, gender specialist and anthropologist Pinky Saptandari and executive director of Wahid Foundation, Mutjaba Hamdi, reviewed the book and engaged in a discussion.

Emphasizing how effectively women forest defenders navigate challenges, Pinky noted, “Their stories are evidence that women are agents of change who never give up in any condition. These women present have faced many challenges: limited time, limited energy, and cultural barriers, but they manage to overcome them by negotiation. Developing communication strategy and using their brain instead of muscles.”

Referring to the forest defender Rizky Emya’s story in the book, Pinky highlights how women in Aceh, including Emya, employ a direct approach to persuade the community and children to care about preserving their forests and stop illegal logging. Emya’s approach involves conveying the impact of poor water quality on religious practices, “We say to them if the water is polluted because we failed to protect our forests, we will not be able to purify ourselves and perform the worship.”

Throughout the discussion, speakers emphasized how these women’s experiences challenge gender stereotypes and demonstrate their ability to drive change in forest management, business, and community leadership.

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Translation

Pada tanggal 10 November, bertepatan dengan Hari Pahlawan Nasional, dan bertempat di kota pahlawan Surabaya, The Asia Foundation dan Agna Komunika meluncurkan buku Perempuan Pembela Hutan. Buku yang dikeluarkan unit Environmental Governance dari The Asia Foundation Indonesia ini mendokumentasikan pengalaman perempuan pembela hutan di tiga provinsi: Aceh, Bengkulu dan Sulawesi Tengah.

Setelah peluncurannya digelar diskusi dengan pengulas spesialis gender dan antropolog dari Universitas Airlangga, Pinky Saptandari, dan Direktur Eksekutif Wahid Foundation, Mutjaba Hamdi. Pinky menggarisbawahi betapa efektifnya perempuan pembela hutan dalam menghadapi berbagai tantangan.

“Kisah mereka menjadi bukti bahwa perempuan adalah agen perubahan yang pantang menyerah dalam kondisi apa pun. Para perempuan yang hadir ini banyak menghadapi tantangan: keterbatasan waktu, keterbatasan tenaga, dan hambatan budaya, namun mereka berhasil mengatasinya melalui negosiasi. Menerapkan strategi komunikasi dan menggunakan akal alih-alih otot.”

Merujuk pada kisah pembela hutan Rizky Emya dalam buku tersebut, Pinky menyoroti bagaimana perempuan di Aceh, termasuk Emya, melakukan pendekatan langsung untuk mengajak masyarakat dan anak-anak agar peduli menjaga kelestarian hutan dan menghentikan penebangan liar. Pendekatan Emya mencakup penyampaian dampak kualitas air yang buruk terhadap praktik keagamaan. “Kami mengatakan kepada mereka jika air tercemar karena kami gagal melindungi hutan, kami tidak bisa menyucikan diri dan beribadah.”

Sepanjang diskusi, para pembicara menekankan bagaimana pengalaman perempuan dalam meruntuhkan stereotip gender dan menunjukkan kemampuan mereka untuk mendorong perubahan dalam pengelolaan hutan, bisnis dan kepemimpinan masyarakat.

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
[email protected]

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