Every big change starts with one step at the time
Leaders story by Lombok Eco Flea Market founders (https://www.facebook.com/lombokecofleamarket/)
We are lucky to live on the small tropical island of Lombok in Indonesia, surrounded by amazing nature and strong-minded people. The island is mostly covered in villages, apart from its capital Mataram and a few small towns, and the Sasak people are very attached to their traditional lives and values.
Following the devastating earthquakes of 2018, which hit the north and north-west of the island, Lombok had to rebuild itself and regrow its economy. Luckily, everybody stayed united and positive and was ready to take bold steps to confront the unexpected challenges ahead. Many different local initiatives and organizations organized help and comfort, and a real network of hope emerged around the island. It seemed clear we had to value and be thankful for the nature and people we almost lost, and that we stand stronger together.
As it is situated just next to Bali, Lombok is facing a big wave of development and economic changes again today, with more and more tourists coming every year. This is a key moment where we can all come together and carve our own way towards a sustainable future.
Last year Paula Huerta decided to gather a group of us to establish the LOMBOK ECO FLEA MARKET- a project to bring together like-minded people who were focusing on one of those activities:
1. WOMEN EMPOWERING / COMMUNITY EMPOWERING
2. CONSCIOUS SHOPPING
3. WASTE TO VALUE/ reusable/ recycled
4. EARTH FRIENDLY / SUSTAINABLE
5. ORGANIC GROWING
And that’s how the six of us met. The first market was held in Kuta Lombok in December 2019. It was a big success with more than 700 visitors in 2 days and more than 20 vendors. And what a positive surprise that was – imagine 20 vendors already thinking about a better world. We then decided to open Eco Markets in other touristic locations in Lombok (Gili Trawangan, Selong Belanak, Senggigi). Our markets add real value to those locations by proposing new products and opening a dialogue about sustainability. It’s amazing to see how people are more and more interested by earth-friendly products and the well-being of the communities behind them. We just needed the right platform to realize this.
Through our Eco markets, we met some wonderful women who lead their projects with full hearts and commitments to help communities.
COCONESIA PROJECT (http://coconesia.id/) – co-owners Danica Badovinac and Marta Jesionowska
The project has only one goal – to fully restore and upgrade the production of virgin coconut oil and additional coconut products. Production is based on zero waste philosophy and they are making products using and recycling 100% of coconut palm trees and its fruits.
All of the products are 100% handmade in the Sokong area of the coconut plantation. They are handmade by local women who share their knowledge and recipes with younger generations. Coconesia’s products are natural, eco-friendly, organic, and bio. Food products like oil, sugar, and shredded coconut are made by using traditional methods and recipes. Brushes produced are made of coconut fiber, bowls from coconut shells, and food products from its pulp. To make the cutlery, they use old coconut wood from the palm trees which do not grow fruits anymore.
By involving the local community of women Coconesia products are bringing women’s empowerment to a higher level and giving an opportunity to woman to feel like a part of families that bring also an economical worth to it.
ninē-ninē – founded by Lucile Job in Ebunut
The project started 3 years ago when we opened a little library in my husband’s village, Ebunut. We had the idea of a cultural center for the children in the village, a space where we could see them grow and experience new learnings. Today we usually open the playground twice a week and organize workshops with external speakers or daily trips whenever possible.
While we were growing our library, one of the main goals quickly became to find a way to sustain our activities. At that time, even though many women in the village had the skills, only very few of the oldest women were still weaving. While talking with them, we suddenly realized there was a way to support both: we could make and sell hand-woven sarongs and divide the earnings between the weavers and the library. And so we started. To stand out from other weaving villages in South Lombok, we chose to give a unique twist to our pieces by adding new colors and patterns to ancient designs. We were always looking for new ways to be creative and we branched out to making baby slings, blankets, and pillow covers. Currently, we’re even working on our own natural dyes. We started with three rebellious old weavers, that quickly grew to five, and now we are a team of ten, including two younger women.
A few months ago we developed a new line of products and opened our workshop and showroom in the village. Our new line is made out of »bendang« which are thin cotton fabrics covered in flowery patterns. The »bendang« are unique to Lombok, and the women here wear them every day. We source them from women-owned shops or buy them directly second-hand from women in our village and villages around, and upcycle them into various eco-friendly products. Two seamstresses work every day at the workshop, and hopefully more soon.
Unfortunately, Ebunut will disappear in a few months to make space for the Mandalika Moto GP track, and we will all have to move to different places, but we know we will find new ways to keep on creating together.
Wherever we go, we will rebuild the workshop and the library, and keep on supporting our women and their millennial skills.
BAMBOOK STUDIO – Founder Paula Huerta
Bambook Studio is a Sustainable Architectural Firm in Lombok founded in 2014. Since the beginning, all of our projects incorporate strong sustainable strategies as part of our core values. In fact, we do not accept projects that do not follow our sustainability standards. We cover many areas, including Water and Energy Efficiency, Environmental Quality, Water Treatment, Rain Water Capture, Renewables, and Sustainable Materials. We collaborate with other companies on Sustainable Land Use, Hydrology, Bio-remediation, Reforestation, and Waste Management. We’ve just finished the first NET ZERO villa in Lombok (Villa Serena), and our director, Paula, is actively involved in initiatives that bring education and sustainable action to the area, like the Eco Flea Market project. She already lives in an Eco Net Zero Bamboo House herself with her husband and 4-year-old son (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrdwSTEbnmA&t=13s).
Besides that, Paula also started the Circular Lombok Group, to push for Circular Economy and Waste To Value business models. It is basically the same as the Eco Flea Market, in the sense that it aims to create a movement, gathering different professionals working in Lombok, to help promote better development practices. In Bambook Studio we believe that Lombok has an opportunity to do things better and that it doesn’t make sense for this Island to make the same development and tourism-related mistakes others have made. We can do better; it’s just a matter of willingness. She also gives lectures about the Circular Economy and the Role of Sustainable Architecture towards the Path of a Green Future in Forums, Schools, Companies, and Events.
NTB BANK SAMPAH MANDIRI / LOMBOK ECO INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION (http://www.lombokeco.org/) – founder Aisyah Odist
A founder and CEO of Bank Sampah NTB Mandiri (NTBM) which was established in 2011. Aisyah is committed to contributing to the environment and education movement. This commitment has also led her to start a non-profit organization focusing on ecology education named Lombok Eco International Connection.
From less than 20 customers in 2011, NTBM has grown fast to more than 300 customers in 2019. They partnered with five (5) craftsmen that regularly supply upcycle-recycle products and employ six (6) people with disabilities. NTBM has also become a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) partner of PLN (State Electricity Company) West Nusa Tenggara since 2014. In joint collaboration with JICA, NTBM managed to launch Takakura Organic Compost. Other craft products of NTBM are sold and distributed under NTBM craft line; Lombok Eco Craft.
In 2017 Aisyah was awarded the Woman and child inspiratory award by the woman Organization and the Association of Mataram City and in 2019 Aisyah also received the WOMEN OF THE YEAR award by BY RED ENVELOVE.
Lombok Eco International Connection was established in 2016 and aimed to focus on educating the young generation on ecology and the environment. Our initiative “Eco School” has now become a spotlight in Lombok. After the first Eco School in Mentigi, two other eco-schools are now in the process of building and operating. The Eco School Initiative is an investment for the future through education and community empowerment and Aisyah invited Danica to cooperate in this project also. Successfully they finished the second Eco school Nusantara in a small village Kapal on the south of Lombok and are now focusing on implementing the educational program in school.
KOA By Anjanis – Founder Nadia Anjani
This project started at the end of October 2019 not long after Nadia graduated from college. She’s been working in the hospitality industry since she was 17 years old and she always dreamt to have a sustainable eco-friendly business and to create jobs opportunity to help other people who are less fortunate. She didn’t know what to do and how to start until she developed a hobby to make natural homemade remedies for herself to use such as homemade face masks, hair masks, and body scrubs. In her free time after graduation, she watched a lot of news about climate change. At that time she decided to make a move and try her luck to create her small home business. She went to Bali to do soap making course along with other body products, but her main focus was and still is to make a good natural soap bar, shower gel, and shampoo bar. Her raw material mostly are oil mix, butter, wax, and essential oil that she buys in big quantities to make her products. She also tries her best to use reusable and low-waste packaging for her products to help reduce the plastic waste on her island.
Nadia’s future goal is to be able to donate and work together with environmental foundations in planting trees and coral reef activities, because she thinks that these are the two most important life resources.
Nadia is grateful to be part of the Kuta flea market, Kampung market (Selong Belanak), and Senggigi eco market community which
LOMBOK SISTERHOOD – founder Marta Jesionowska
According to Plan International Indonesia 2018, more than 39% of girls are laughed out because of their period, and 1 in 6 girls skip school after having it. 67% of parents don’t even talk with their daughters about menstruation. All of this leads to a decrease in their self-esteem and self-respect. It causes also problems with learning and social inequalities.
That is why access to free hygiene products and menstrual education are so important. Girls have to be aware of the processes taking place in their bodies. While being equipped with pads, girls are able to function the same as their male classmates.
Marta, a psychologist who has been living in Lombok, decided to fight for it. She created the Lombok Sisterhood initiative. The first goal of the project is to give boxes of free hygiene products to all schools in the island’s capital – Mataram (the future goal – to deliver boxes to every primary school in Lombok).
Unfortunately, very often even schoolgirls get pads and they still don’t even know how to use them properly. The next necessary step is to organize special classes on menstruation. Thanks to them, girls will feel more confident and acquire the knowledge they need for a normal and dignified life. The final goal of the Lombok Sisterhood project is to deliver reusable pads to every schoolgirl in Mataram. Replacing disposable pads with reusable ones will also make girls learn an eco-friendly approach to the environment.
As woman, we are determined to focus on using our power and help re-direct change toward a better world for each and every one. We hope that our feminine values and our feminine energy might bring a good contribution to that change. We stand together, strongly, connected, and on a mission to help this island become more eco-sustainable without disturbing tradition or implementing a Western lifestyle. We don’t want to change Indonesian culture, but we want to help improve people’s habits that are expanding world eco issues. That’s why we see an opportunity in connecting, communicating, and involving locals and ex-pats hand in hand toward tomorrow.
Links and contacts for further connection and support:
LOMBOK ECO CONNECTION
LOMBOK ECO FLEA MARKET
SENGIGI ECO MARKET
SELONG BELANAK MARKET