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Plan International Indonesia's Young Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme (YWEEP) which was implemented in 2013 in East Nusa Tenggara province, has benefited 3,000 young people, with a particular focus on young women.
Funded by the European Commission, the project provides training to young people to help them establish farming groups and cultivate fruit and vegetables to be sold in both traditional markets and modern supermarkets.
Blandina Nainoe, 25, from West Timor in Indonesia is leader of the Nunuh Pakae farming group. She set up the group in 2013 and since then she and her fellow members have earned a steady income from harvesting crops including eggplant, morning glory and Chinese cabbage.
Plan International provided the group with training to help them select crops that require less time and effort to cultivate. “We do not need to use so much of our energy to prepare the planting fields. Now everything is light and grows faster,” Blandina explains.
Delphi, 16, is a member of the Usapi Banam farming group in West Timor, Indonesia. Working together, the 12 women and 10 men, have learnt how to produce organic fertiliser (bhokasi) from goat dung, dry leaves, gamal leaves, water and sugar. The fertiliser production process only takes seven days so is much faster to produce than compost.
“If I had not joined the group, I would still be jobless, stuck at home and lost in a daydream,” Delphim says. Using the new farming techniques that Plan International has taught the group, she is able to produce seedlings, tomatoes and Chinese cabbage which she sells at the market.
Esi, 16, graduated from junior high school in 2014 and plans to go to high school in 2016. She joined a farming group and now works for a small holder. “I feel happy to have joined the group because I can learn how to do farming and get experienced. I have been a member of the farming group for two years and have saved some IDR 3 million to pay for my return to school.”
The Warsel farming group is led by senior high school graduate, Norbes, 28, who used to be a tailor in Surabaya city, East Java. She wanted to return to her village and after training from Plan International, formed the farming group with 20 members. The group has generated an income of IDR 20 million through two successful harvests of tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, watermelon, beans and eggplant. “We sell our produce like eggplants at the market. We take them in the morning and usually they are sold out in just two hours. We are happy to get a steady income. I don’t need to become a migrant worker,” Norbes says happily.
Madalina, 22, is a member of the Wae Kabuka farming group in West Timor, Indonesia. Madalina grows chilli in her garden and sells each harvest for 200,000 rupiah. She uses the money from the sale of chillies to send her sister to school and help cover her parents’ daily needs.
Madalina enjoys martial arts and wants to become a preschool teacher. “This year I will register for early childhood teacher training. I will keep on farming as we only attend school three times a week.”
Local hand-made lu’at chilli sauce produced by one of the farming groups supported by Plan International in West Timor, Indonesia, has been selling well in the local markets. The mixture of chillies, onions, lime and basil leaves is packed into plastic containers ready for sale.
This new business opportunity has helped strengthen the farmers’ economy security and provided them with a sustainable business which will support their future development.