Damaris: Empowered Young Female Farmer Who Contributes to Environmental Sustainability

Damaris: Empowered Young Female Farmer Who Contributes to Environmental Sustainability

Damaris harvesting her fresh produce/ photo: Agus Haru

Forecast data from the Green Skills for Rural Youth in the Southeast Asia Report revealed that the agricultural sector provides 2,434,000 green jobs, or 62% of the total number of green jobs available in Indonesia. The report also mentioned that the number of young people living in rural areas will increase by around 37,000 (with a majority of women) and green jobs are expected to increase in supporting rural development. As the negative consequences of climate change and environmental degradation are projected to increase, it is important to adapt potential skills to sectors that are seriously affected due to the risk of natural resources depletion to achieve more environmentally-friendly economic goals.

Knowing the facts and discourse above, Plan Indonesia initiated Green Skill 2.0 activities based on learning and success from the previous Green Skill project to promote Green Skills for Youth Economic Empowerment (ProGreen YEE or Green Skill 1). Based on recommendations from the final evaluation of the project, there are still some needs for replication and scale-up to achieve long-term outcomes namely increasing the capacity of young women in green skills for economic empowerment. Supported by The Body Shop and in collaboration with CV. Duta Agro Mandiri, Green Skills 2.0 aims to offer more advanced and gender-sensitive interventions in using the facilitation of micro-enterprise development and job creation for young women in Timor Tengah Selatan and Timor Tengah Utara districts, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

Starting in 2019, the Green Skill 2.0 Project has assisted 12 young farmers groups, the majority of which are young women. These young farmers grow horticultural crops such as chicory, tomatoes, chilies, beans, and cabbage. To date, there have been eight groups that have harvested and earned income, ranging from 1,700,000 to 12,000,000 rupiah.

Damaris (28) is one of the young female farmers, the alumni of the Green Skill 1.0 project and signed up to join Green Skill 2.0. Damaris has gained basic skills in horticultural farming, ranging from land preparation, seedlings, farming maintenance, harvesting period, post-harvest and financial management in groups. In Green Skill 2.0, Damaris will get support for the establishment of green enterprise through training in the formation of registered green entities as well as assistance, intensive business training and gender-sensitive green skills. In this advanced stage, Green Skill 2.0 aim to increase in the capacity of green skills that emphasizes strengthening teamwork and collaboration, micro-enterprise development, agribusiness, marketing and business value chain.

“I am very grateful to get the opportunity to join this horticultural farmer group. Previously, I was unable to speak in public and know nothing about horticulture farming that is environmentally friendly. But now I am getting tremendous benefits from this project, increasing income and experience from zero to be empowered.”

Before joining the Green Skill project, Damaris said she was a shy person and had difficulty speaking in public. Slowly, she managed to overcome this and together with 6 other people in the Oliftataf group of young farmers can generate income of 10,600,000 in one harvesting season. Damaris is very happy to be part of this group of young farmers, which initially had 19 members, but now it has developed into 6 new groups, each with 7 members.