UN Women News
11 January 2018
Nglinggi, Indonesia — The group of 20 women from this farming community in Klaten, Central Java gathered on a stage and pledged before their neighbors and friends: “We, Indonesian women, are determined to live in love and peace with all elements of society regardless of one’s ethnicity, religion, and faith.”
With this pledge on 1 November, and the signing of a peaceful village inscription by the Regent of Klaten, Nglinggi became the first community in Indonesia to be declared a model Kampung Damai, or “peace village.”
The Wahid Foundation, an NGO, is working to create peaceful communities is 30 multi-religious villages of Java. The project, which facilitates group discussions within the community on what it takes to become a peaceful village and encourages resolutions of conflicts that arise is funded by UN Women.
Community members start by making peace within the family, then agree on guidelines for the community: People of various faiths should cooperate to solve problems and set community policies; neighbors should jointly maintain the community such as by cleaning and fixing common buildings; and women must be economically and socially empowered.
“We see women as potential bearers of peace in the community,” said Yenni Wahid, Director of the Wahid Foundation. “So we want to empower them to find their voice. We hope that by empowering them, it will change the dynamics in their communities.”
The peace village is part of UN Women’s Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities programme, which works in Indonesia and Bangladesh to economically empower women through small business workshops and loans, and to support peaceful solutions to growing intolerance and violent extremism. The idea is that empowering women creates stronger, more peaceful communities that in turn help prevent violent extremism. The Government of Japan funds the project.
On Java, the Wahid Foundation facilitates women’s microfinance groups that meet weekly to learn about financial management and how to develop their small businesses. UN Women provides the groups with capital for loans. Through these groups, women of diverse religious and social backgrounds learn to support each other.
Members of the microfinance group in Pondak Cina village in West Java point to the benefits for their own businesses as well as for the community.