Koperasi Annisa

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Challenges faced by women in Lombok

 

West Nusa Tenggara is one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia. As of 2011, nearly 20% of the population was living below the poverty line on less than $22 a month. With limited natural resources everyone is forced to compete for work. In this environment, it is the people with the least skills, mostly women, who are worst off.

Women in Lombok traditionally do not have decision-making rights within the family. Many young twelve- to fourteen-year old girls are forced into arranged marriages and the child mortality rate is the highest in Indonesia. Many women are illiterate and most are expected to undertake exhausting physical work outside the home as well as caring for their families. For extra income, many women start up small-scale enterprises selling vegetables, snacks, eggs, and housewares for a small profit. Due to poverty, many are forced to borrow their startup capital from high-interest-charging unofficial moneylenders leading to entrapment in a vicious cycle of debt. Koperasi Annisa was established to provide a way out of that cycle. Since its beginnings in the 1980s Koperasi Annisa has successfully provided finacial support, and much more, to the women and families of Lombok.

(This overview is based on the Ashoka profile of Koperasi Annisa founder, Ibu Kasmiati)

 

Koperasi Annisa

The Annisa team

Koperasi Annisa was established by an wonderful Sasak woman, Ibu Kasmiati, in the early 1980s. Having witnessed firsthand the discrimination experienced by her mother and other women in the village, Ibu Kasmiati saw the need to establish a group of women working together who could provide one another with emotional support, and who could also form an alliance that would bolster their bargaining power when entering into economic enterprises outside the home.

Koperasi Annisa was formally established in 1986. The cooperative is committed to developing their members through a holistic range of programs that go well beyond income generation. In addition to providing loans, Ibu Kasmiati and her team have established programs focused on education, health and welfare, legal rights, advocacyliteracy, skills training, and leadership development. In partnership with national and international bodies, Annisa have also provided access to clean water and solar power. All of Annisa’s programs are focused on giving its members real control over their lives and an understanding of their environment.

The Annisa team work to ensure that members understand how the cooperative works and are all actively involved in programs. Women who were illiterate have been empowered through regular classes. As a result, most can now sign their names and write basic sentences. Reading skills have given them greater control over their businesses. Annisa also has credit programs specifically for pregnant women and to pay for certificates proving ownership of land. All of Annisa's economic programs are backed up by training and discussion, helping members gain a valuable understanding of the workings of the economy and their legal rights. All members meet in local groups at least monthly to pool their resources and discuss social and economic issues including the problems of early marriage, physical abuse, family planning, and children's health. Hundreds of Sasak women are now involved in the group's savings and low-interest loan program which charges one-tenth the amount of interest of the money lenders. 

In addition to developing new leaders within Koperasi Annisa, Ibu Kasmiati also brought together all local Lombok organisations who were concerned in any way with women to implement an in-depth survey of women’s needs on the island. By creating links between all the groups concerned with women on Lombok Ibu Kasmiati hopes not only that they will work more closely together into the future but that together they can draw more public attention to the needs of women in Lombok.

(For more information see the Ashoka profile of Koperasi Annisa founder, Ibu Kasmiati)

 

The Annisa team

Ibu Kasmiati, who founded Koperasi Annisa almost 30 years ago

 (top row, from L) Ibu Sakrah, Ibu Sopiatun, Ibu Misnur,

(2nd row) Ibu Mukmin Suryatni, Ibu Munikem, Ibu Nurul Hasanah,

(last row) Ibu Rohani and Ibu Masithah

have all worked with Annisa since the 1980s

 

 (from L) Ibu Siti Nurhayati, Ibu Kariati and Ibu Hatriah joined the Annisa team in the 1990s

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