Fellow Since 2001
This profile was prepared when Herlambang Perdana Perdana Wiratraman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Pioneering a movement to peacefully resolve land disputes, Herlambang educates farmers to be nonviolent negotiators who effectively represent the interests of their rural communities in discussions about land ownership and control. Focusing on local history, culture and law, Herlambang prepares farmers to sit at tables with powerful landlords to negotiate the recovery of land once held by the farmers. Without bringing cases to court, Herlambang helps communities work within a legal framework while promoting the importance of nonviolent, win-win solutions to the conflicts over land. The education Herlambang offers is a means of cultural revitalization, for the ultimate goal is to strengthen local institutions and networks, and to increase rural farming communities' self-sufficiency and sustainability. Herlambang's alternative approach requires that the rural community be organized, as well as educated, before entering into negotiations. Farmers themselves serve as principal organizers. They are prepared for this task by working through an intensive program which emphasizes leadership and a thorough understanding of the legal rights and obligations of all parties. The careful preparations involved are essential to giving the farmers a sense of solidarity and empowerment. According to Herlambang, the movement is a moral struggle.