Women Research Institute

Promoting women leadership and inclusive,
gender-based, and sustainable natural resource governance

Women are often more vulnerable to being affected by the adverse impacts of environmental disasters and damage. Indeed, this was the case was found by the Women Research Institute in relation to the forest fires haze in Riau in 2016. The research findings show that there are at least five main impacts of these environmental events, the impact on the environment, health, education, budget and economy. Not only that, in 2015, WRI also examined how the impact of forest concessions on the lives and livelihoods of women around the area.

 

Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest tropical peatland in the world with an area reaching 1.6 times the area of ​​Java. Peatlands are formed from the decay of organic material that has accumulated for thousands of years. Peatlands are also capable of storing 20 times more carbon than ordinary tropical rainforests.

 

Riau Province, is the number two province after Papua which has the largest peat area in Indonesia. 45.71% of Riau's total land area is Peatland. However, more than 50% of the peatland has been converted for aquaculture purposes and most of the land has been converted to land burning methods.

 

In 2016, Women Research Institute conducted a study related to the impact of haze, especially for women in Pekanbaru. Based on the results of the study it was found that there was no clear policy and uncertainty over the government's response efforts to make the problem of haze increasingly protracted and caused huge losses.Therefore, in an effort to minimize the impact of haze due to forest and land fires, communities need to build a community resilience system to prevent forest fires byincreasing their role in monitoring changes in the surrounding forest conditions. With increased awareness, the public can contribute to making prevention efforts before the fires spread.

 

In the last 18 years, forest fires have occurred almost every year in Pekanbaru City, resulting in haze and smoke and polluting the whole city. The status of the haze is ‘hazardous’ (its Air Pollution Standard Index/ISPU hitting more than 400) for the human life, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, and children. Almost every year the emergency response provided by the local government of Pekanbaru City and the state government are still far from enough to protect the public’s health (women, especially pregnant mothers, infants, and children). Usually women and children are exposed to the haze with neither proper protection (N95 mask) nor an adequate alternative residence during the occurrence of forest fires. Children are forced to be absent from school for weeks because their classes are not equipped with air conditioners and air purifiers.

Riau Province, is the number two province after Papua which has the largest peat area in Indonesia. 45.71% of Riau's total land area is Peatland. However, more than 50% of the peatland has been converted for aquaculture purposes and most of the land has been converted to land burning methods.

 

 In 2015 more than half of forest fires in Indonesia occur on peatlands. This forest fire releases carbon emissions of more than 15.95 million tons into the atmosphere and triggers changes in extreme weather resulting in natural disasters in various places. In this case, women who are closely related to the environment will experience worse impacts from disasters due to environmental damage. Both the impact on reproductive health and the social and economic life of himself and his family.

 

 Based on that situation, in the year of 2017-2018, Women Research Institute support by World Resources Institute has implemented the program of “Strengthening Women’s Capacity to Build Community’s Ressilience in Time of Haze through the Use of Global Forest Watch (GFW) Tools”.

 

Latest Publication

  • Women’s Leadership Training Module

    The Women’s Leadership Training Module is a guidebook based on a series of capacity building for women’s leadership held by Women Research Institute (WRI) in five selected areas, namely Padang, Deli Serdang, Mataram, Pekanbaru, and Jakarta. This is a follow-up from WRI’s 2012 research titled “Feminist Leaderships in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia in Influencing Social Movements and Its Correlation to the Improvement of Women’s Prosperity: A Case Study in 5 Regions.”  The research findings...

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