Indonesian Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohana Susana Yembise, symbolically opened the Indonesian River project (Sekolah Srikandi Sungai Indonesia) in Code riverside neighborhood in Yogyakarta on Saturday (11/6). On this occasion, the Minister also inaugurated the Women in River Edupark program. Vice Rector of Research and Community Service of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Prof. Dr. Suratman, and Head of Women’s and Community Empowerment of Yogyakarta, dr. R. A. Arida Oetami, M.Kes, as well as chairman of Pemerti Code (an environmental organization set up by the community along the Code River), Totok Pratopo, also attended the event.
The program for women was established based on the idea of Prof. Dr. Suratman after the first Indonesia River Congress in 2015. The members of the group consisted of women who had concerns about the river environment. The events held by them include education, campaign, training, and mentoring. They also conducted waste processing and produced handicrafts using recycled waste.
Meanwhile, the Women in River Edupark is a program initiated by Research and Community Service Institution of Universitas Gadjah Mada collaborating with Centre for Women’s Studies UGM. One of the concepts of Women in River Edupark is the establishment of the medicinal plants educative garden. The produce from those medicinal plants will be fermented, thus becoming beneficial products.
The Minister said that, as of that day, the world had officially implemented Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She further explained that, in the SDGs, the environmental aspect is stated as one of six essential elements which include the planet, people, dignity, prosperity, justice, and partnership. Therefore, we can see a strong relation between humans and the planet (the Earth) in realizing prosperity and justice.
Regarding gender, Minister Yohana said Indonesia had actively promoted the importance of gender equity and women’s empowerment. Those activities are done in accordance with various policies on climate change which are regulated through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Women in River Edupark is an implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
Minister Yohana emphasized that violence towards children and women can arise due to a lack of organization in village affairs. She gave the example of the construction of toilets in river banks which can also cause women and children to become victims of violence. According to the Minister, it is essential that women are involved in making SDGs successful and participate in environmental management.
“Thanks to UGM for its participation in managing the watershed area by empowering the women,” said the Minister.
Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Suratman said Srikandi Sungai Indonesia is a form of the state duty. The task is to invite all people to care for education, water, and sanitation.
“From the river, we channel education throughout the world,” said Prof. Dr. Suratman.