Fellow Since 1993
Institute of Dayakology Research and Development
This profile was prepared when Stepanus Djuweng was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Stefanus Djuweng, himself a Dayak, has seen firsthand that his ethnic group has over the years become ashamed of its cultural identity and practices. He knows that the first step towards development of his community, and the region as well, is helping his people regain their pride and traditional solidarity. Building upon local traditions of self-reliance, Stefanus is also developing a financial mechanism that will promote economic independence, build community interdependence, and place control of regional development in the hands of the local people. He is establishing a lending and development fund into which each community member is asked to place a percentage of his or her income. As the fund builds, community members strategically use the money to assist other members of the community with emergency costs–such as funerals or schools fees–and also initiate community development projects.The funds build community solidarity by providing a structure in which the community makes decisions about its own welfare and development, free from dependence on outside help from either government or foreign agencies.