Indonesia: PEKKA Lodan Doe

PEKKA Education and Community Development Fund: NTT, Indonesia

PEKKA is a women’s empowerment organisation based in Indonesia with a membership of over 25,000 women ‘heads of household’, including rural widows, abandoned and divorced women across Indonesia. PEKKA has led campaigns and programs aimed at education, health, access to justice, livelihood and women’s leadership in the community. indigo partners with a thriving network PEKKA Lodan Doe collectives spread across the islands of Adonara, Lembata and East Flores in Eastern Indonesia

PEKKA members – women heads of household – are one of the most marginalised groups in Indonesia with almost half (49%) of PEKKA households represented in the poorest 20% of Indonesian society with an income close to the Indonesian poverty line.

In 2017, indigo foundation launched a partnership with the PEKKA Lodan Doe. This partnership focuses on food security through a network of women-run coooperative gardens and on improving education outcomes with a bursary program for girls and young women from primary to university and support for young women who have dropped out of school to return to sit their school certificate.

In 2019, PEKKA Lodan Doe held their inaugural Children’s Festival, providing an opportunity for children and young people from female headed households and the broader community to come together to learn about local traditions in cooking, dance, music and weaving and to promote pride and knowledge of the local culture. You can read about the first festival here.

For more information on PEKKA’s work in Indonesia, see their website and this article by feminst powerhouse and PEKKA National Coordinator Ibu Nani Zulminarni.

background - Adonara and Lembata

Adonara lies in the East Flores regency of Eastern Indonesia, isolated from other islands by treacherous currents and deep channels. Access is by local wooden ferry from Flores Island. Roads are primitive and
water is scarce. There is a two tier system of Government where tribal authority co-exists with the Central government.

North East of Adonara, 15 minutes by motorised canoe, is the island of Lembata (2010 population 117,000, area 80km x 30 km). The people are mostly corn and cassava farmers or fishers. One village still lives by hunting whales using traditional methods. Like Adonara, Lembata suffers from poor water supply, lack of infrastructure and isolation. Lembata is also a source of male labour for Malaysia, leaving many women-headed households behind. PEKKA Lodan Doe has been establishing a presence in Lembata since 2014.

Poverty in Adonara and Lembata is exacerbated by the large number of men who undertake the traditional practice of “merantau” (lit: wander about). Men leave their families to search for success – sometimes for years, sometimes forever. Often there is no communication during the time the men are away. It is shameful to return as a failure. Many men from Adonara and Lembata seek work illegally as labourers in Malaysia, and any money that can be accessed for education is prioritised for male children. Often this money is borrowed and may take many years to repay.

background - PEKKA and the World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights

Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga (PEKKA) is an Indonesian civil society organisation that supports and empowers women heads of household in 20 provinces through programs aimed at education, health, access to justice, livelihood, micro finance and women’s leadership in the community.

PEKKA was established in 2001 by renowned feminist Ibu Nani Zulminarni. PEKKA has a national secretariat based in Jakarta with over 80 staff and 1350 PEKKA groups at village level.

The PEKKA National SPKBK (Community-based Welfare Monitoring System Survey) showed that nearly half (49%) of families in Indonesia at the lowest welfare level are headed by women. Women household heads are typically aged 18-65 supporting 1-6 dependants.

We were introduced to PEKKA by the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in 2015 and formed a three-way relationship between PEKKA, the World Congress and indigo foundation to support the PEKKA Education and Community Development Fund – a fund to support children and young people in communities where PEKKA works with scholarships to continue their senior high school and university education.

Under this initial arrangement, the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights provided funding in 2015 for the scholarship program to start in the academic year commencing in 2016.