Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lombok Diary : Bring up an Attractive Visual Display for The Villagers

On my previous post, you would see what I've been doing in Lombok, yap..educating the member of cooperatives to be in touch with technology and get used to the gadgets.

While nowadays, again we might say that smartphones or tablet and internet is the basic needs for us after food, clothing and housing (you know how it feels when you’re not connected to internet for only a few hours, it seems like we’re away from the universe :p), there are areas that still not connected to the world, or perhaps actually they know about the era of gadget and technology but they have no idea how it can affect and improve their life because they don’t have any access to it.

Indonesia has tens of thousands islands spreading from Aceh to Papua, separated by the ocean and a vast distance, where the technology (and any other parts such as economy and education) are not developed at the same level, we’ve been facing the above challenges down here. We realize that we have to start something to steal a glance at these circumstances and do something to bring these people up to involve ‘the world’.

The artisan of Ketak Handicraft at Koperasi Harapan Bersatu


Continuing our support for small-medium enterprise business in Indonesia under OVOP Program (One Village One Product), we constantly conduct the education in the form of training or workshop for the cooperatives. Our objective is to grow the team by injecting technology and equipped them with the skills needed so they could be financially independent.

After successfully hold range of digital and marketing trainings since October 2015, and being recognized at The 8th Global CSR Summit Award 2016 on the  Best Community Program category, we are back to provide trainings that more varied in this year starting from Retail Management & Visual Merchandising that were -held in April 2016.

The first time we visited these cooperatives– Koperasi Harapan Bersatu (Ketak-handicraft) and Koperasi Stagen (hand-woven textile) at Central Lombok, the artisans have limited access to technology and have no enough knowledge about marketing, but now they are improved and getting used to the tablet that my company has given. The order starts to increase by people who see their Facebook fan-page - bringing some fresh air to the cooperatives. In other hand there are still ‘the off-line’ relevant capacities that need to be developed such as the ability of display management including to choose the best product to be displayed to attract potential customer.

Classroom Session: Retail Management & Visual Merchandising

We  held a classroom session on the 1st day on 28 April 2016.This time we were not only inviting  our supported cooperative but also from various industries –such as handicraft, foods, printing and other hand woven textile cooperative. They have learnt about basic marketing principals (4P) by defining the product they wanted to sell, the price, the promotion strategy and the place. Visual merchandising theory was also being taught at the first day to open their mind what else is needed to sale the product. We also conducted a focus group discussion by dividing the participants into smaller groups to have discussion at the end of the sessions. The class is fun knowing that participants are not only learned about the topics given, but also they are so eager to discuss about tourism development in Lombok. They point out some current issues to be discussed and try to brainstorm about what they can do to contribute to make a change.

FGD at classroom session

The materials taken from around the house for visual merchandising training

The most interesting part was on the 2nd day, we had hands-on training in two Cooperatives supported by my company to build a display corner. The member of each cooperative were asked to gather any kind of things around the house that can be useful for display materials such as earthenware, bamboo stairs, wooden chairs and weaving-racks, we also bring them some interesting samples such as a weaving mannequin and other materials. We encourage them to find the recycled stuffs, trying to point out that to create an artsy gallery doesn’t have to be expensive. Then finally, they have awesome display corner in each place! 



Coming up, more digital workshops aim to push them to be able to blog which is more than to sell the products but also to focus on presenting the unique story behind the product contains of the richness of Indonesian culture. We are also working on the eco-production workshop and put an effort to link them to Indonesian market. Hopefully, the cooperative will be independent in the future...:) 

Friday, May 13, 2016

New face

trying to code something and relayout the blog, but still need to improve

Friday, March 04, 2016

Lombok : Plethora of Handlooms

The craftswomen is weaving Ketak handicraft, home industry allow them to take care of their children when working. Now, there are more than 100 women in Janapria Village incorporated in Harapan Bersatu Cooperative.

It was sunny day at Central Lombok, the temperature increased by hours up to 34o C. We were still get excited for the workshop hold on that day, even there wasnt air condition inside the room, well, it was there but it didn’t work at all. Thank God, the Bureu’s people helped by lending us many of fans to cool the condition. Yes it helped a lot. Around 20participants from two cooperatives were sitting on the U Shape desk style provided and trying to operate the 7 inch 3V tablet with their fingers. Many of them looked a little bit nervous to touch the screen since they were not familiar with these gadgets and some of them operated  properly for browsing or log in to their social media account.

Lombok spotted as one of travel destination in Indonesia offers the world class underwater view and picturesque sceneries of Mount Rinjani or Gili Islands. Furthermore, Lombok also a plethora of handlooms, weaves and handicraft which are still rich of local culture. There are Ketak handicraft – woven made from ketak or rattan, Cukli – furniture supplies made from wooden mixed with shell and of course the famous hand-woven fabric, Tenun Ikat. These weaves and handicraft has been preserved by local people in Lombok whom inherited by their ancestor and developed as local commodity.

 Daily activities of the artisans at Stagen Cooperative. This is called Mengani or rolling up the thread in smaller pieces using wooden materials manually, the process before step into weaving activities.

These local commodities have been developed through “the cooperatives, a private business organization that is owned and controlled by community who’s originally aimed to provide, supplies and service for their own community, but it is now changed by providing the demand also to outside community. We have chosen to focus on two cooperatives in Lombok, Stagen Cooperative and Harapan Bersatu Cooperative that have been monitored by local Bureau of Cooperatives, Industry and Trade (Diskoperindag).

The members of Cooperatives are still adhered to the old way of doing business. They just simply wait for the order from some people or tourist who come to their workshop, or they just put the products in local art shop and wait for people to come and buy.

Unfortunately, this old-way of selling didn’t bring any advantages for them. The lack of knowledge made it’s difficult for them to keep up with the changes of business trends, their work takes too long to be responsive, and so they have been left behind. Hence, Samsung is there to foster and encourage them by bringing digital waves which will offer a promising future for home industries.

It needs a week or more to produce a piece of beautiful textile, which is why hand-woven textiles are highly valued.

Weaving is a hereditary culture passed down by Sasak ancestor. Some ethnic groups in Indonesia have been weaving since past, and Sasak in Lombok-West Nusa Tenggara is one that is famous for its weaving textile.

The artisan can possibly bring their children to the workshop, they definitely don't need a daycare ;)

I now running a program for these Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) called "One Village One Product" (OVOP) with the company where I've been worked for. A program that is driven to improve the ability of locals in rural area across the country to utilize the cultivate local-wisdom and culture in order to develop small medium economy to be financially independent. The OVOP movement was started at Japan (Oita Perfecture) in 1979* and became one of the successful regional economic program due to its unique approaches in transforming local products and industry into competitive products both in local and global markets. This movement has been proven as an effective tool in improving local economy and welfare of rural people, local income and social solidarity by creating unique and value added products. With the missions to familiarize technology and how it can improve their life and business.

For the first step of OVOP program we start by providing production equipment’s that are much needed. After all equipment are set, we continue with the some training session that comprised by 3 sessions that took up to two days for each session. The training given starting with introduction of basic marketing, social media introduction (including the tips how to take nice pictures and interesting wording), continued with basic web development.

Production equipment support consists of machineries and additional electricity to facilitate the production process. By adding more equipment, the cooperatives expected to be more productive and it is enable them to run the side-business such as providing raw materials to be sold to surrounding community with affordable range of prices.

We are also supporting numbers of tablets to each cooperative aiming that every cooperative could be updated in using gadget, internet of things and online selling. 

Web development training led by the digital expert. On this training, the participants expected to improve their understanding about creating web account via wordpress

The participants learning how to photograph with tablets and photo editing with snapseed

At the first session of training, we found it ironic to see the fact that some people in Lombok are still blind in using tech-things while tablet is something that we couldn’t leave without at these days. This challenge drives us more to develop the people intensively.

We invited two Cooperatives that we focus on to joining our two days training with material of basic marketing and basic online – social media.  . During the workshop, participants are expected to learn more about marketing trend that is going online and to get familiar with social media. Besides theory, we gave the hands-on practice, using Samsung tablets to introduce the social media such as facebook, twitter, and instagram. Only little of them had aware about those social media but we could say nobody knows how to leverage these accounts for business purpose.

During social media training, we taught them the proper way of signing up, about visual communication, how to post the product display and how to get the proper photograph and photo editing with mobile apps such as snapseed. They look enthusiast to learn, especially about how to take photograph from various angles and the editing process.Meanwhile during basic web development we taught them how to make an account in wordpress where we saw most participant looked so stress but curious in setting up the layout and putting the words in it. We understood the situation as we realized that web development is a little bit complicated than facebook, instagram or twitter.

Align with Indonesian Government’s vision we also would like to integrate our sustainability priorities in community development, education and technology. This program expects how technology and internet usage may drive the community in rural areas to be competed in the digital world. At the first glance, this program appeared by introducing device as a powerful tool to enhance knowledge about social media, but sure it could do more. Mostly run by women, our support empowers community to use technology for business purpose that aims to increase local economic well-being, helps to spur growth and development.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wild Encounters with Orangutan in the Whispering Rainforest of Borneo, Indonesia

Tom-The King and His Queen - Siswi

It was a smoky day when we landed in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo – the green land, the heart of world’s lung inhabited by multiple primates and the most-famous endangered species, Orangutan on Friday noon. The smog that has been covering many areas in Indonesia including Kalimantan since mid 2015 has lead to the chaotic of flight schedule, and it was also impacted to our flight on that day which delayed for about 6 hours. But thank God! After all the drama, we arrived at Central Borneo and ready to explore the forest! Our landing is not that smooth as we have expected. I though it will be my last day, we couldn’t see anything on critical eleven moment-when the pilot announced ‘landing position’, plus the smell of smoke occurred during our landing made us extra anxious, furthermore we couldn’t see the land, it’s all white outside covered by the smoke.

Pangkalan Bun is a small city with limited infrastructure, visiting this area feels like back to 80’s or early 90’s, but no worries, at least you can find taxies around the airport ready to take you anywhere. Most people here worked in agriculture area, mostly are working for oil palm plantation. With population around 250,000 (based on Indonesian Body of State data in 2010), Pangkalan Bun is served by Iskandar Muda Airport.

I really surprised that I finally here in Pangkalan Bun to experience the wild encounters of Borneo. I firstly noticed about Tanjung Puting story in a novel I adored so much, “Partikel” – the 4th sci fi series of Supernova by Indonesian author, Dewi Lestari. There was Zarah – a main character of the story who discovers herself by travelling along Sekonyer River and became a volunteer in Camp Leakey. Zarah continues her travels and finally reach her dream to be a photographer of National Geographic and recognized as ‘somebody’ in international level.

Peaceful afternoon at Sekonyer river

After safely landed, we were head to Kumai, a small harbor located at the side of the beach at south Pangkalan Bun to hop into our “Klotok” ~ a  river boat which the machine sounds “tok…tok..tok..”, so the Kumai people say it Klotok. The Klotok could be occupied by 8-10 people, 4 of them is the boat crew consist of the tour guide itself, the assistant of tour guide, the chef – to prepare our dishes during our trip off course, and the Capten – who operates the boat. Our “area” was the top floor of the boat where there was a bed and mosquito net, a table with chairs, and some lounge chairs out on the deck. The bathroom was a flush toilet on the first floor– where the contents are flushed to is another story and a another mystery for another day (LOL!). I stayed in this Klotok with 3 of my friends and other 2 visitors. So there we went…sailed the Sekonyer river to Tanjung Puting National Park.

Since the sun went down, we’re not able to visit any destinations in our first day, so we’re just simply immersed in the night, starred up the vast skies and glittery fireflies decorated the forest at the side of the river. The sounds of crickets and the song of the nocturnal creatures accompany our journey to the heart of Tanjung Puting, composing a drama that contemplating the night into something special that we’re not always experienced at our home or town, a beautiful “Jungle Sympony”. I took a sip of tea and enjoying the circumstance, forgetting about twittering or posting in Path (and by the way, mobile phone signal was not available) and all it had to offer. Our tour guide talked to us about the difficulties of finding jobs in the local economy, trying to choose between acting as a tour guide in the part (few jobs) versus perhaps getting a better paying job in one of the palm oil plantations that were encroaching on the part. Our tour-guide, Pak Pi’i moved from East Java and has been stayed at Kumai for more than 4 years, he used to be a chef for the boat but later on, he learnt to be a tour-guide, so there he was with us shared his experiences of being a tour-guide after 2 years. He also talked about the forest fires which happened almost every year in Borneo, droughts and drying peat-lands has put them in flammable condition, small friction between the dry twigs could easily causing fire and burn the forest creating harmful smoke, the worst location at that time was in Palangkaraya – capital city of Central Borneo.

The night was getting cold, the smog still blanketing our way along the river. After finished the dinner, the boat crew prepared our bed. They rolled the mattress and covered each with the mosquito-nett neatly. Hmm..I missed to tell you something, Tanjung Putting is one of the location of endemic malaria, so for a better prevention, I suggest you to take some treatment like consuming anti-malaria such as Reschocin or other prevention method before arrived in the location. We were so fortunate that we came in dry season, so there were almost no mosquitos at night and I could sleep well as a princess with the forest lullaby. We tighten our Klotok at the dock of Sekonyer Village, covered the half boat with tarp to avoid the monkeys that usually stole the food or tourist stuffs.

Heading to the heart of the forest


It’s usually hard for me to wake up early in the morning, but at this time, sure I didn’t want to miss our mystical morning at Sekonyer River. The morning alarm call is a shriek and a clatter. It is a noise that – I can only imagine – was the result of birds and monkeys inside the forest. The sound was amplified in the morning stillness, but by the time I have parted my mosquito net and leapt from bed to investigate outside near our Klotok. It’s quite peaceful moment looking around the river, the (local) women washing their clothes at the river-side, some children playing around…Most of people in Borneo are highly dependent to live aside to the river.

Misty morning at Sekonyer River, foggy but beautiful

After a breakfast with rice mixed with prawn and fish and takes a sip of tea, the klotok pops into life, and we proceed past banks lined with mahogany trees, palms and bandas fruit - a favorite of the orangutans. People used to see the alligator or other kind of reptiles such as crocodile or snakes, but we weren’t that lucky to meet all of them during our journey. We meet some of them, monkeys and Orangutan hanging on the trees, all the boats stopped for a while, the visitor popped into the nearest boat and started to shoot with their DSLR.

We spent our days traveling to the two platforms on the second day. The boat would dock and we would hike into the woods where some make-shift wooden benches were set-up for viewers. There were quite a few boats out on the river during our time in the park, but we never felt crowded. We were in our little oasis, taking pictures of monkeys and trees and birds and yah.. the forest was hot. We were sweaty after only short hikes out to the platforms. We waited with baited breath while the park rangers brought out bananas and coconuts and called for the orangutan with special and unique sounds, but unfortunately after waiting for 2 hours, no one came out, huft! The first platform was failed, thus we continue our journey to the second platform.

It needs about 2 hours to go to the next destination, the boat-crew served our lunch with vegetables and fried-chicken and spicy-sauce. We tighten the boats and hop into another boats parked at the dock and head to the wooden-bridge that connect us to the front of Camp Leakey.


Camp Leakey set up by the conservationist Dr.Birute Galdikas in 1971. Galdikas is a primatologist, a protégé of legendary paleontologist Louis Leakey and the founder of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI). Dr. Galdikas has joined so many expeditions and streched her efforts to save the orangutan from extinction through rehabilitation and habitat preservation. Camp Leakey itself is the oldest orangutan research and conservation centre in the world – and it has been critical in helping sustain their numbers in the wild. Other sanctuaries and feeding stations have been established along the river where these endangered animals eat harmoniously together. We met group of Orangutan after about 30 hours trekking from the front to deep down the forest.

Road to Camp Leakey

Camp Leakey - The front gate

Orangutan information center

Siswi The Queen - the female orangutan

Me with the primates just a few meters from where I stand, live from their habitat!

What I love the most about Camp Leakey was seeing infant orangutans in the arms of their mothers where they belong. Not only have ex-captive orangutans been able to successfully reproduce in the wild, their offspring have the chance to be truly wild. In Camp Leakey, orangutans are free. Free to forage for their favorite fruits. Free to build night nests wherever they choose, free from harmful poachers, illegal loggers and palm oil plantation. Free to be wild!

We met Tom – The King of Camp Leakey and its queen – Siswi the female orangutan, during their ‘lunchtime’. Tom replaced Kusasi which was no longer a King. Kusasi’s reign ended when Tom was able to prove his dominance. Tom is an enormous cheek padded male who has a very different personality from Kusasi but was no less qualified for the role. The only circumstances that frustrate Tom were only when females ignore him or when the wild pigs try and steal his foods (LOL!). When Tom is nearby, the other resident orangutans acknowledge his royal presence by getting out of the way. The field-staff said Tom’s face didn’t yet have scars that tell the stories of epic battles for supremacy or winning the attention of females like his predecessor, but Tom is still young and many years ahead of him, he’s now 30’s something.

After hours witnessing, photographing and video’ing Tom, Siswi and other orangutans near them, we head back to the boat and found some monkeys playing around us, some of them tried to get into the other boats and steal foods, but our boat were safeee…

Sweaty and filthy, the tour guide then finally find the best place for us to take clean water and…took a bath after 2 days cleansing only with wet tissues! Fyuh…the water was actually still taken from the river, the boat crew convinced us that it’s clean and fresh, so I just pretend the water is safe by pouring some disinfectant that I bought from Jakarta, wash my hair and refreshing the body. We stayed for one more night before heading back to our town.

Live of people around Sekonyer River

I believe that to see these unique primates is in their habitat, not at the Safari or Zoo or even at the circus, experiencing the forest with them hanging on the trees left a precious moment for us. I would say, a trip to Tanjung Puting National Park will change your life. You will understand just how small you are in this huge, huge world. It is a place for contemplation, reflection, and appreciation. If you are a wild one at heart, I strongly encourage you to do so, to go to Tanjung Puting National Park. Go, experience the world and the pure awesomeness that the park emanates, but please remember to leave only your footprints and take nothing but memories and off course photographs!

You could contact  tour and travel agents which open for group or private trip, most of them managed by NGO’s or local people. Don’t worry about where to stay before or after the klotok moments, there are good hotels available like Swiss Bell Hotel which located at the town. Or if you thought, sleeping in the Klotok won’t enough, you could stay at eco-lodge spread at Kumai, Sekonyer Village or Pangkalan Bun.

Pangkalan Bun could be reached for about 8-10 hours by bus or car from Palangkaraya (the capital city of Central Kalimantan) where you can take listed airlines like Garuda Indonesia or Lion Air from other areas. Since the airport is small, Iskandar Muda serves only pioneer aviation, like Trigana Air or Kalstar Airlines.

Rumah Panjang – Traditional house of Dayak, the tribe of Borneo

The live of people in Sekonyer Village which so dependent to the river

Trip Information :

3D2N Trip : US$ 132 (all in, incl. foods and beverages)
The tour is varied, it’s also available for you to explore Dayak Village with 5D4N tour or more.

Airlines Ticket (round trip Jakarta – Pangkalan Bun and return) : US$ 115 (Trigana Air or Kalstar Airlines)
Contact Person: Pak Pi’i – my tour guide ~ +6281352759739 or Pak Zulham ~ +6281299372424
Or you can also contact Mas Indra Setiawan from Tour Tanjung Tour ~ 0856651202195
Check for further info :)

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Witnessing The Crafts-making at Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

 A crafts-woman processing Ketak to be a handicraft

These photographs you have seen here are actually taken for my report when I was visiting some craftsmanship making in Central Lombok. I went there to observe how these ladies work together with surrounding community, creating something valuable for their lives, for earning money purpose, or we called it Microeconomic Development.

There were many things I have seen, the humanity, about how people in rural areas now have courage to preserve the habit that traditionally done since long by their ancestor. I felt so lucky that I have been there to witness how they develop the small business with limited knowledge and resources through preserving the culture. I snap some of what I’ve been seen during our trip, hoping from one village to another village, passing the verdant, rice field, traditional market, hustle and bustle by the local villagers and off course stumble upon to what was actually their daily habit. They living a simple live, still depending to the nature and off course slightly touched by the technology.

My first destination is‘Cooperation’ (Koperasi) – a small economic institution initiated by the local that built to gather the craftswomen from surrounding community to drive local economy. This Cooperation has been made “Ketak Handicraft” as local commodity. Have you ever seen Ketak? If you ever go to Ubud Traditional Market, Bali, you might be familiar with this kind of handicrafts. Ketak is one of popular handicraft from Lombok made from Ketak – a kind of grass which grows in swamp area. Ketak looks like the roots of rattan with wavy shapes, but actually rattan and Ketak are 2 different plants. They usually took the raw materials from Kalimantan and Ternate, Sulawesi – the place where Ketak and rattan has grown well, bring it to their workshop then crafted in to various captivating pretty shapes.

Unfortunately, due to the limit of facilities, they can only shape the basic forms without good finishing which made its price is very cheap, cheaper that you’ve seen in the market. Per craftswoman may only make the profit up to Rp 200,000 – Rp 250,000 per month (US$ 19-20). Actually, Ketak could possibly more famous and more valuable than we could imagine, but due to limit of knowledge and infrastructure, Ketak (without finishing) can only be sold to the collector with very low price.

I hop to the second destination, Tenun Ikat Cooperation or Ikat weaving, a traditional handmade fabric made from special string and made by the valuable craftsmanship. Tenun Ikat has been very popular as one of cultural richness of Indonesia, it has inspire many of famous designers to create the fashion trend from this beautiful fabric. It’s not only about the pattern or the effort to craft the fabric that made Tenun Ikat famous and high valued, but also the history behind a piece of this fabric.

This woman has left by her children who work as a labour in Saudi, her child has never been never came back for years, she didn't even know where her daughter. To overcome her bad situation, she start join the Cooperation (Koperasi Stagen) for weaving and forget about her sadness.

Tenun Ikat with standard pattern 

It's not easy to made a piece of fabric, they start to set the string then weave them 

This girl is 12 yo, she helped her Mom to weave the fabric during her holiday, Her Dad has passed away since so long, so her Mom has to be a single parents and earning money by herself to bring this girl to School.

For the Sasak- the original tribe from Lombok, Tenun Ikat is a part of culture that means a lot for them. Its pattern inspired from animals and plants that they have been witnessed in daily life then attached to the fabric, the pattern is actually expressing the animism and dynamism and their praise to God, each pattern even has a special meaning, taken from Sasak’s ancient culture. Actually, The Sasak has to do a special ceremony before start weaving, but they don’t do it again at this time. Furthermore, a Sasak women will be allowed to marry if they can weave,  at least they have to weave a piece of fabric by their selves for their marriage ceremony.

It needs minimum a week to create a piece of fabric with standard pattern, or could be more like months for the special pattern made from silver or gold string which usually created for special purpose such as traditional ceremonies or special order. All these historical culture has shaping Tenun Ikat as a precious thing, which is why it has the high price and highly valued.

I also visited another places, like the artshop and the furniture workshop where the local made "Cukli"- the traditional furniture craft made from the shells.

It was a great trip! #happy

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