This is our interview with Muhamad Juaini, done by Alexander Rachor about our joint cooperation in the east of Lombok, Indonesia. Together, we aim to establish lending groups in six villages.
What is your role at Gema Alam and why did you want to be a part of it?
I am one of the founding members and work full time as project coordinator of Gema Alam. Since I grew up here in the east of Lombok, I know the problems of the villages which Gema Alam supports. It has always been a concern of mine to help the locals create a better life for themselves. Besides, it’s fascinating that we cannot only help individuals but entire villages.
Could you describe the situation as well as your work on an exemplary village?
In one of the villages, hand-weaving is a long-standing tradition. However, the problem is that the population is lacking the capital to finance the equipment. Therefore, they must lend money from commercial money lenders which they have to pay back with an interest rate of over 50%. We want to eliminate this dependency by providing the necessary capital in the form of fair micro loans so the villagers can improve their quality of life.
Which challenges and consequences of these are the villages facing?
Especially the subordinate role of women. Many men prohibited their women to join our cooperatives. Therefore, it took a long time until we reached a higher number of members.
How do you keep in touch with the participants?
It is highly important for us to stay in personal contact with our participants. This allows us to exchange experiences and progresses with them. Therefore, we visit every single one of the 6 villages which we support at least once a week.
How could you help the villagers this far?
We already established cooperatives in which the participants deal with and solve social and economic issues. We solely act as intermediary. We also noticed that women who take part in our groups are treated more equally in their communities.
What does Gema Alam hope for from the joint work with GMI
We are hoping to continue the improvement of the situation in the six villages in the long run through the work with Global Micro Initiative, their advice and their financial support.