Erie Sudewo

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2011
Dompet Dhuafa


This profile was prepared when Erie Sudewo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Erie has transformed the religious tradition of charity, called zakat (a mandatory charitable contribution based on income), to help the poor by forming new zakat management institutions, which offer high-quality and affordable health, education, and savings/loan services. Most of the organizations develop financial independence and sustainability. Simultaneously, this umbrella structure has also allowed zakat payers to make independent decisions as to how and where to donate. In 2010 the zakat collected was more than 1 trillion rupiah (from 612 billion in 2007).

Erie has created a new wealth redistribution system based on an ancient one with tenets set in Islam. He is the first and strongest advocate for citizen sector control of zakat management, operated by staying true to the values of transparency and accountability. Through the establishment of an earlier charity, he modeled what citizens could do and do better than the government by setting up a citizen organization (CO), Dompet Dhuafa (Wallet for the Poor) in 1993.

Erie realized early on that everyone has something to give to others but would not give it, at least through the government system, if they believed the system was corrupt or the process was too complicated. In 1997 Dompet Dhuafa launched Forum Zakat (FOZ) to create greater awareness about and improved management of zakat organizations throughout Indonesia. The forum encourages coordination and partnership at the national and regional levels and assures a high- quality standard of zakat management. Erie set up the Institute of Zakat Management in 1999 to raise the number of citizen sector zakat collection and distribution institutions and supervise the quality of operations. Now, fourteen years after its establishment, 400 to 500 citizen-based zakat management organizations have emerged across the country with millions of beneficiaries.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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