6th March 2015
Kampung Tiku in the Penampang region is a remote subsistence farming community with a population of approximately 130 people. The 16 people who make up the Raleigh team are currently living in the community hall while they build a community learning centre which will used as a kindergarten and meeting place. With International Women’s Day on 8th March, Alpha 1 has been keen to research the relationship between not only women and poverty on the world stage but also to correlate this to the roles of women within Kampung Tiku.
Alarmingly the correlation between women and poverty is more closely related than people may think. Women are responsible for ensuring the children attend educational facilities where possible. This directly affects the completion of UN Millennium Development Goal 2 to ensure all children have access to primary education. Alongside this, women are responsible for 80% of subsistence farming making them a vital group to address when NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are setting up irrigation systems and other programmes to increase yield and quality of subsistence crops. Such programmes, if run in an intelligent way, can contribute to eradicating poverty and hunger by giving families a small surplus to sell at market. Yet with the world’s women responsible for 70% of global manual labour, but receiving just 10% of global pay, the importance of educating women becomes ever more apparent as one many pathways to gender equality.
As enthusiastic global citizens, the venturers of Alpha 1 have tried to do their own small part to contribute and document the role of women in Kampung Tiku. In order to do this the group met with local women and asked about their daily lives and how they support each other. Astoundingly, and yet in keeping with global patterns in marginalised areas of the world, the women of the village are responsible for the growing and harvesting of all the crops which in this case are mainly rice and tapioca. In addition to the agricultural work, the women also meet roughly once a week to weave bamboo. Often this is for practical reason such as mending the baskets they carry the rice in after harvest. Relating this to our Raleigh project, the ceiling panels at the community learning centre will be comprised of woven bamboo and the finished building will serve as a great meeting place for local women on evenings and weekends.
Another piece of information drawn from the local women was that the mother in law of Irena (one of the women who attended the meeting), serves as the village midwife. Although the level of training received is unclear, providing a meeting space that is convenient and comfortable will enable greater communication and knowledge sharing of such vital skills and training.
In conclusion, the empowerment of women is clearly a global issue and opportunities for change can lie at a grassroots level as we have seen in Kampung Tiku. This is why the Alpha 1 group has endeavoured to explore how the community learning centre can not only advance community education, but also improve communication for local women and augment the spirit of women’s rights and importance in Kampung Tiku for generations to come.