Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Siti Fuadilla Alchumaira. I am the co-founder of a women’s community initiative in Lampung called Empowomen. It is a forum which aims to develop the potential of young women in Lampung and increase women’s leadership and participation in society. We select women to participate in a four-month program involving activities that focus on capacity building, project management and team building, with a final stage of implementing a social project that targets local women as beneficiaries. Our hope is that our female participants can develop these skills to use for their careers and become leaders who can mobilize the community to solve existing social problems within our society.
What inspired you to build this initiative?
First, I’ll give some context about the gender dynamics in Lampung. Currently, there are only 4 women leaders out of 40 community leaders in Lampung, while only 23% of parliament is represented by women. For these reasons, as well as the high rates of violence against women in Lampung, we decided to invest in women. If we can raise the standard of women leaders within the community, then the awareness and sensitivity to solve issues related to women will inevitably increase.
What sorts of issues do women currently face in Lampung?
In Lampung itself, there is still limited support and access to general information about the options that women have. We are not just talking about women’s access to information or developments in Jakarta or Java, as we are still quite far away from that reality. Here, women’s aspirations are still limited to domestic roles which is a mindset we want to change. We strive to raise awareness and lead by example to inspire women to do anything they can with their skills and abilities. We are not limited by our gender and should be able to build a career in whatever field we choose.
What sorts of challenges have you faced so far?
Until now, we still rely on grants and have not been focused on monetising our project as we are currently focused on raising awareness and capacity building. We are still unsure about the kinds of products or services that we can develop to monetize and thus support the sustainability of Empowomen. These are the strategies we need to work on moving forward.
How do you stay motivated despite facing difficulties?
We are grateful that accessibility is increasing and we are becoming more aware about the importance of funding in supporting the sustainability of our project. Perhaps one thing that keeps us going is the fact that we are certain about the ‘why’. Why are we doing this? Because we believe in the benefits of our project, and feel continuously encouraged and humbled by the mentorship we have received thus far, which has allowed us to increase our own capacity. The main thing is to keep learning, keep trying, and if it fails, just try again.
What can we do to help as a society?
Naturally, most of our team is female, but we also recognize the important role of men in achieving our vision. One of our values is inclusiveness, and so both men and women are invited to support our initiative and the societal issues that affect women more generally.