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Wahid Foundation and Japan Tobacco International Indonesia Develop Peace Village in Banyuwangi to Build Community Resilience

Jakarta, May 30, 2023 - Wahid Foundation (WF) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Indonesia have formally begun working together to create a Peace Village in the Banyuwangi area of East Java in order to support the role and involvement of women in peacebuilding. The Peace Village program, which aims to strengthen community resilience against possible conflicts, includes the Japanese Embassy as one of its collaborators, with Kanasugi Kenji, the Japanese Ambassador, attending the launch of the program.

The Peace Village is a program initiated by WF in 2017. It was developed in an effort to reduce social disputes and counteract the effect of radicalism through community empowerment. The residents of two villages in Banyuwangi will be the focus of the Peace Village initiative, which is funded by JTI Indonesia.

During the event, Yenny Wahid, the Director of Wahid Foundation, expressed her appreciation for the support of JTI and the Japanese Embassy in helping the initialization of the Peace Village initiative. Yenny stated that the program has already been effectively implemented in 22 villages in Indonesia. The collaboration of several stakeholders will aid in the program's expansion to further locations in Indonesia, especially in areas where conflicts may arise.

The Banyuwangi Peace Village Program, according to Yenny, would emphasize economic empowerment for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), particularly for women who have been impacted by the prolonged economic crises brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak.

"In the Peace Village, WF takes an economic empowerment approach to MSMEs as one of the most important ways to strengthen resilience. Economic empowerment is a strategic approach to preventing and controlling social conflicts. By placing women as the main actors, economic empowerment becomes a means of social interaction as well as a method of improving livelihoods," said Yenny.

Wahid Foundation and Japan Tobacco International Indonesia Develop Peace Village in Banyuwangi to Build Community Resilience Manos Koukourakis, President and Director of JTI Indonesia, commented on JTI's support for this initiative by expressing that JTI was inspired to become involved as they believe that living in a secure and peaceful environment is the right of every individual. Therefore, they are hoping that JTI's contribution will go towards communities that are not yet fully empowered.

"We believe that a conducive ecosystem is the key to advancing Indonesia. That is why we support the establishment of more Peace Villages, especially in areas with high economic and social challenges. We hope that this joint program with JTI Indonesia will provide significant benefits to the village communities in Banyuwangi," said Manos.

Wahid Foundation and Japan Tobacco International Indonesia Develop Peace Village in Banyuwangi to Build Community ResilienceThe Executive Director of the Wahid Foundation, Mujtaba Hamdi, gave an explanation of why the two communities in Banyuwangi were chosen. He states that both communities have varied socioeconomic, educational, and cultural origins. These circumstances can make people more prone to disputes, but they can also foster great social resilience and opportunities for cooperation.

"In the process of developing the Peace Village in these two villages, WF will focus on two main aspects. First, providing peacebuilding mechanisms and entrepreneurial skills. Second, WF will provide product curation mentoring, cooperative initiatives, and access to a wider range of digital and conventional markets," said Mujtaba.

Mujtaba underlined that WF seeks to empower women as key actors in community resilience through the Peace Village program, not just in peacebuilding connected to social conflicts and radicalism, but also in addressing other concerns happening in society, as according to the UN, women's economic empowerment is important for fostering gender equality and is essential the establishment of peace.

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Peace Village initiative aims to tackle the threat of radicalism by empowering communities, one village at a time, through cultivating social cohesion, community resilience, as well as promoting societal equality and respect for diversity.

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