A group of women from two villages in Indonesia are fighting forest fires and promoting sustainable agriculture in their communities. The ‘Power of Mama’ is empowering women and protecting the environment in Borneo.

E very dry season, devastating fires ravage the environment and the lives of southwestern Borneo’s inhabitants. The once abundant forests, boasting remarkable biodiversity with 15,000 plant species, 420 bird species, and 230 mammal species, including the critically endangered orangutan, have been decimated.

The loss of half of Borneo’s forests from 1973 to 2015 can be attributed to intensive logging, changing weather patterns, and poor agricultural practices. Slash-and-burn agriculture, commonly practised by smallholders in developing countries, coupled with rising temperatures and excessively dry seasons, fuels the rampant wildfires in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province.

These fires often go undetected as they spread through the tropical peatlands.

However, on the outskirts of the forest, a remarkable group of women is tackling this issue head-on while redefining their roles within their communities. In villages where women have traditionally been confined to nurturing their families, the ‘Power of Mama’ collective is leading the charge towards a more sustainable future.


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