What I See
In Indonesia, the conservative and radical groups tend to dominate Islamic teaching. They also dominate women’s issues–early marriage, niqab, polygamy and the definition of a wife’s obligations.
Gender bias and discrimination of women are also shaped by a strong influence of the media, particularly social media and technology.
However, women Ulama (religious leaders) offer an Islamic perspective that promotes gender equality and women empowerment, and their teachings are well-documented.
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We believe that women are the key to conflict transformation. And through capacity building and access to information technology, they will be able to promote a peaceful Islam, gender justice, and women’s rights to a national and global audience.
Peace-building and girls and women’s empowerment in the context of Covid19 is more important than ever.
Extremist groups are using the spread of Covid19 in Indonesia as an opportunity to spread false news that puts communities at greater risk of exposure to the virus.
Our fear is that if people in communities are feeling injustice – they are more likely to believe the extremist anti-government messaging. Our work to educate, empower and build the capacity of girls and women to have a voice online continues to be our priority, and we are constantly innovating creative ways to implement this during the Covid19 crisis and after.
What I’m Proud Of
We operate from a mindset that there are no limits to building and developing our programs, and no limits on the possibilities of who we can engage and coordinate with.
Our willingness to always look outside the box has enabled us to open and operate 39 Women’s School for Peace and 10 core groups of Peace Leaders and Girls Ambassadors for Peace.
We also lead the Working Group on Women and Countering Violent Extremism, which aims to strengthen gender perspectives in preventing/countering violent extremism.
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Women are the leaders in our work, not the object. We treat everyone we work with as a human being with a story to tell – and everyone on our team is dedicated to hearing these stories and learning how to develop unique programs that fit individual and community needs.
We are also proud of our own working culture.
We all come from different backgrounds i.e. formal and informal education and experience – and we push each other and ourselves to the limit which results in creativity, innovation and the greater ability to reach more people.
I Feel Happy When
All of this is beyond our expectations from when we first started. We really believe that women’s leadership is the key to change communities, and now we are seeing it in action.
Today, we feel so proud it brings us to tears when we see these women able to run their own forum, and manage relationships with leaders, and feel confident to share their own stories and feelings.
These are all very new skills, and now they can do it, and teach the next generation to do it as well. This touches our hearts, and gives us the energy to keep going.
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We worked with the students to develop a training on the impact and importance of social media. The students then created their own content for a training on the rising progressive and moderate understanding of Islam through a women’s perspective.
The students were so enthusiastic about being empowered to create their own content, they now want to have additional training on how to present and host this content to a wider audience.
We are working to figure out a way to conduct this training online so the students remain motivated to protect the woman’s perspective.
What’s Surprising Is
We are changing paradigms, and encouraging vulnerable and difficult conversations that we hope will lead to a more peaceful society.
This is not a small task in a country that is dominated by conservative and radical views.
In many forums, this is the first time a female Ulama has had the opportunity to participate in these conversations—and her perspectives are not what people are accustomed to hearing.
She is able to offer a new interpretation of the Koran through a gender lens, as well as participate in conversations to offer differing views and opinions. It is powerful and challenging.
A Direct Grant
We find that traditional funding often leaves out our need to be constantly innovating. In order for us to keep reaching the most vulnerable populations, we need to generate new ideas that are innovative and creative.
Sometimes we have to shift our program to meet new needs, and when we have to ask the donor for permission–it can take weeks to get a response.
If there is no innovation, organizations like AMAN will keep trying the same thing over and over, and so many girls and women will be left out of what our programs have to offer.
We want to be trusted to know what the evolving needs of our community are and have the capacity to respond.
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With a flexible grant, we can grow and adapt to the dynamic and ever-changing social and political needs of our communities.
Want to Learn More
Make a Direct Grant?