Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Empowering women in Asia: “We study entrepreneurship, but we never forget about culture”

September 12, 2017

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia –Things got even more exciting for the small Javanese city that’s full of personality. With its majestic natural panorama coupled with its fascinating local fine arts and royal history, the artisanal city of Yogyakarta has set the vibrant mood for the latest training programme of EXCEED: Women Entrepreneurship in rural Asia.


Participants of the EXCEED training on Women entrepreneurship in Asia in Yogyakarta, Indonsesia (by Miwin Sutama)


The elaborate batik and craftwork that can distinctly be found in many Yogyakarta’s creativity alleys represent the city’s artistic vibe. These intricate products made by artisans tell a long timeless family tradition that have been passed on from one generation to another. However, as with many micro enterprises they are challenged by low productivity and market stagnation. Moreover, this paradox is heightened in many rural areas in Asia because of challenging engendered social circumstances: while women are increasingly running their own enterprises, their entrepreneurial potential, managerial skills and socio-economic contribution remain largely neglected.

Sharing NTFP-EP’s experience with women artisans and NTFP producers, the training has covered the potential of women in entrepreneurship by exploring their potential and learning how others have addressed the not only the entrepreneurial but including social challenges that they have faced as women leaders in their own communities.

The training participants were able to learn from the valuable experiences and inputs of two local partners: ASPPUK, a network of 54 local women organizations working to capacitate women in Indonesia, and; LAWE, a community social-enterprise focusing on women groups that transforms hand woven fabric into function products.

EXCEED Yogyakarta

Ibu Rosea, Badjao from Sabah. Organizing women to make pandan products and to protect sea turtles.


EXCEED Yogyakarta

Yeshi from Bhutan presents the case study. Recommendations for the souvenir surprise


At the end of the training, the eager women were equipped with the basic knowledge and skills to launch or improve their enterprises. As they were in the artistic city of Yogyakarta, it was only fitting that the training ended at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House.

EXCEED Yogyakarta

Merry explaining a simple way for a small enterprise to manage its funds and not go bankrupt


EXCEED Yogyakarta

Javanese poet MJA Nashir shared a poem during the closing programme:
“We study entrepreneurship, but we never forget the importance of culture”


EXCEED Yogyakarta

Cristina Eghenter of WWF Indonesia in the closing program of EXCEED



Written by: Earl Diaz, NTFP-EP Asia
Photos by: Crissy Guerrero, NTFP-EP Asia