We have exciting updates from our on-ground team of trailblazing female firefighters.
Celebrating the Power of Mama
The Power of Mama is a female-led forest fire prevention and firefighting initiative in West Kalimantan, Borneo
Celebrating Indigenous Rainforest Communities
This year's International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples provided us an opportunity to raise awareness about the global challenges and issues indigenous communities face. Despite progress in recognizing their rights, many indigenous peoples still encounter discrimination, land dispossession, and marginalization.
Forests are vital to the planet's health, and indigenous peoples have been the guardians of these ecosystems for generations. Their profound traditional knowledge of the land's biodiversity, medicinal properties of plants, and sustainable practices hold tremendous significance for conservation.
By safeguarding their territorial rights and involving them in environmental decision-making, we can better address deforestation, climate change, and other pressing ecological concerns by safeguarding their territorial rights and involving them in environmental decision-making.
Power of Mama Program
The lush jungles of Indonesia are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including the magnificent orangutan. But this paradise is under constant threat from forest and land fires that engulf essential habitat areas for orangutans and other protected species.
However, hope shines through in the form of a powerful force—The Power of Mama (PoM) program. Launched in June 2022, this initiative has brought about a remarkable change by empowering local women to protect their communities and the environment.
Closing the Gender Gap
The PoM program, driven by Yayasan Inisiasi Alam Rehabilitasi Indonesia (YIARI), aims to prevent and mitigate forest and land fires in the Ketapang Regency by promoting local women as protagonists in environmental management and protection. This initiative has gained rapid momentum and support from local communities, government, and other partners. The Ketapang region, known for its peat substrates, faces significant threats during the dry season (June-September), with El Niño exacerbating the situation.
The PoM Woman: Guardians of the Jungle
Within this challenging context, the PoM women have emerged as the guardians of orangutan habitats and other wildlife. 56 local women from four hotspot villages actively enrolled in the program have been patrolling and monitoring fire-prone areas. To expand the program's impact, 25 more women were recruited and trained from two new hotspot villages—Kuala Tolak and Sungai Putri.
Power of Mama has been busier than ever these past few months. Below, we break down what they've been up to.
Latest Update from Power of Mama
Patrols, Monitoring, and Outreach
The PoM teams conduct regular patrols on motorbikes, covering vast areas, including rice fields, mangrove borders, plantations, and settlements. These dedicated women have collectively logged over 1,084 hours of fire-prone area monitoring between April and June 2023. In addition to patrols, PoMs engage in socialization with local farmers, educating them about the risks of fires and sustainable agricultural practices. Their outreach efforts have successfully reached 72 landowners across the landscape, fostering cooperation and immediate reporting of fire incidents.
Firefighting and Multi-agency Cooperation
Fires pose an imminent threat to the delicate ecosystem, but the PoMs stand ready to combat them. They receive specialized training in fire management and have successfully extinguished 15 forest and land fires during the past quarter. Whenever a significant fire event occurs, they actively cooperate with governmental authorities and local firefighters to extinguish the flames and protect their precious land.
Capacity Building and Program Expansion
The PoM program empowers women to protect their environment and equips them with valuable skills. With support from YIARI, they receive land management, composting, and drone usage training. The introduction of drones has revolutionized their firefighting efforts, with five PoM members becoming proficient drone pilots.
Indigenous Women's Empowerment and Social Change
Forests For People works tirelessly to collaborate with indigenous rainforest communities across the world. By fostering inclusive partnerships, respecting their unique cultural perspectives, and providing them with the resources they need, Forests For People empowers these communities to protect, manage, and restore their forest homelands sustainably. Through educational programs, capacity-building workshops, and the establishment of local enterprises, Forests For People ensures that indigenous peoples thrive as the guardians of their ancestral knowledge and territories.
Beyond their environmental roles, the PoM women have become catalysts for positive social change. They challenge traditional gender norms by stepping into leadership roles and participating in decision-making processes. Their remarkable achievements have inspired a shift in local communities, with landowners willingly altering their agricultural practices to protect their lands and the environment.
The Power of Mama program exemplifies the strength and resilience of women in safeguarding our environment. By closing the gender gap and empowering local women, we protect orangutan habitats and pave the way for a sustainable and just future for all. As we continue to support and celebrate the PoM women, we are reminded of the profound impact individuals can make when they come together for a greater cause. Let us all be inspired by these extraordinary women and join hands to protect the precious wildlife and nature surrounding us.
Together we can ensure a brighter future for indigenous rainforest communities, their forest friends, and the planet.
Power of Mama is made possible through your generous donations, Ministry of Environment and Forestry and YIARI (Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia).