Arief W. Djati

Ashoka Fellow
Malang, Jawa Timur, Indonesia
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Arief W. Djati was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Indonesia's New Order regime encouraged a brand of economic growth that concentrated power in the hands of a very few individuals, permitting a host of damaging practices that left workers vulnerable to the whims of–and in many cases, intentional exploitation by–their bosses. Complaints of sexual harassment and physical violence perpetrated by superiors were silenced. Lay-offs came suddenly and with no explanation. Workers labored intolerably long hours to the point of physical exhaustion and collapse. In the name of security and economic growth, the workers of Indonesia lost most of their rights and those who spoke up were stifled.
Arief sees that Indonesia's recent political changes introduce the hope of lasting reform for the men and women who make up Indonesia's work force. By training and educating labor leaders and linking them together in a national network, Arief is strengthening the bargaining position of factory workers who actively oppose oppressive policies and practices in the work place. Through his efforts and the efforts of the labor leaders he trains, Arief is establishing strong local organizations that, in coordination with the major labor union, pressure the provincial legislature to enact policies that protect workers from abuses and exploitation. Arief's model will be effective in other Asian communities with similar labor histories.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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