The Island of Lombok was affected by a magnitude 6 earthquake in July 2018 which not only impacted residential housing, yet it also caused landslides and damaged infrastructure. Lombok is home to over 3 million people with 52 of those are female entrepreneurs who run their own local business with positive local impacts. The post condition after the earthquake struck suddenly became a large obstacle for many of these businesses, disrupting the supply of raw materials as local crops were affected and also decreasing demand for their products as customers are mostly local and therefore earthquake affected.

Despite the multiple challenges after the enormous disaster, the business must go on. Ibu Gangga, is one of these inspiring women who does not want to give up the situation. Ibu Gangga is 50 years old and has not been shaken by the damage dealt. She plans to rebuild her business. She was in the middle of building a coffee shop to allow her to sell coffee locally when the earthquake hit and damaged the foundation. Ibu Gangga started her business after guests at her guest house often complimented her on her delicious coffee. She thought there was a possibility that she could sell this to locals in her village. She has her very own recipe for the coffee blend. She mixes cloves, red ginger, cinnamon and several other local herbs into her signature coffee blend. Currently she employs 7 other local women who have a role in supplying the ingredients she uses.

Seeking for support to rebuild her business, Ibu Gangga signed up herself into Pro Women program initiated by Yayasan Rumah Energi in partnership with Platform Usaha Sosial (PLUS). Since the program launched in November 2018, Pro Women now advocates 55 women entrepreneurs in Lombok to enable them to improve their capacities in developing the business they are engaged in. This program aims to meet the needs of these entrepreneurs, particularly in networking with each other and upskilling in marketing their products (online, print and word of mouth). Price setting is also an area of concern; knowing what price will allow these women to make sufficient profit and also make their product affordable to consumers, especially when the cost of raw materials increases. Most of these businesses employ local women to assist them in production, and the majority produce food products which are sold domestically.

Throughout Pro Women program, these women entrepreneurs receive intensive advocacies customized to their needs. Advocacies are delivered through digital media (online) as well as individual delivery (offline) that requires their commitment to attend 3 days of workshop once in a month. With the assistance of Yayasan Rumah Energi and PLUS these amazing women entrepreneurs will start to networking and identify their specific needs enabling them to upscale their business while assisting each other and supporting their local community. No earthquake can fault their determination.

Photo: Ibu Gangga with her coffee and with the remaining structure of her coffee shop which she plans to continue to build

18 April 2019