Nani Zulminarni

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Nani Zulminarni was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Nani helps women who head their households—widows, divorcees, those who have been abandoned by their husbands, those whose husbands are disabled or ill, and single women—to recognize themselves as capable of making important contributions to society, both as individuals and collectively. She has set up women’s groups around Indonesia that allow women to connect with one another while strengthening their economic outlook and gaining self-confidence. She starts with economic empowerment programs that focus on small businesses and personal savings and loans.
Nani also addresses societal perceptions of women heads of households by raising awareness about their problems and by helping them to create new roles for themselves. Women in her program have gone on to become leaders in their communities. In West Java, participants in Nani’s program have inspired motorcycle taxi drivers to join their activities while teaching them about domestic abuse prevention. In conflict-ridden areas such as North Maluku, they have pioneered peace education. In a province in eastern Indonesia, for example, a single mother won her campaign to be the head of her village. Others from the same area have successfully advocated for changes in local budgets to accommodate women-headed households. At the national level, Nani is working to change discriminatory laws and policies.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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