Muslimah amazed and proud: A success story

Muslimah's yard garden is so bountiful that she rarely has to buy vegetables anymore. She is saving the money in hopes of putting her three children through university when they grow up.

Muslimah learned how to manage land, plant, raise seedlings, and make compost at a three-month field school provided by the Mangrove Action Project, a local partner in Oxfam Canada's Restoring Coastal Livelihoods program in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

That inspired her to plant mustard greens, aubergines and chilies in her house yard. But Muslimah, a 41-year-old mother, went  farther, with training in human resources, bookkeeping, and how to participate in development planning meetings. The skills prepared her for a new role as leader of a women's economic group.

Economic groups in 60 vulnerable coastal communities form the backbone of Oxfam Canada's five-year Restoring Coastal Livelihoods project that is rehabilitating depleted mangrove forests, stimulating enterprise and empowering women to participate in economic planning by local agencies.

Loan System Created

Muslimah’s 26-member group has earned profits from processing and marketing salted duck eggs at local food expos. The women have also accumulated capital for a lending system by collecting voluntary and compulsory savings from group members. School fees are a popular use for loans.

The rhythm of Muslimah's life has changed from homemaking to busy community leadership.

She gave a presentation on behalf of the women's group to a village planning meeting and was subsequently asked to represent the village at a sub-district development planning meeting.

“I was amazed and proud because I could represent the women's group from my village. There are lots of other women, but I was the one who was invited to represent my village. I was scared, but at the training I'd already learned how to 'speak', so I was only a bit scared.”

Muslimah and the other women are committed to diversifying and maintaining their business when Oxfam leaves. “We have the basics from the training and support from Oxfam, which we can use to continue to develop our group.”

Thanks to Muslimah for telling the story of how her community has improved as a result of the support of Oxfam Canada and Indonesian partners through the Restoring Coastal Livelihoods project, funded 90 percent by the Canadian International Development Agency.

To support more programs like this, please donate to Oxfam Canada.

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