As many as 17 women groups from Gunungkidul, Temanggung and Kulon Progo actively participated in the learning exchange facilitated by YEU. The cross visit to three sub villages in Temanggung were conducted on May 9th, 2017 and followed by a visit to two villages in Gunungkidul on May 15th, 2017. The cross visit was a forum of learning exchange of the women resilience practices on the basis of their experience, knowledge, and best practices that has been done by the groups. These two area were chosen because they are all prone to landslide. However, each group has its own resilient practices in response to disaster threat in their area.
For example, women groups in Temanggung, particularly those in the village of Muncar and Kemiri chose aquaponic as an alternative organic farming which can maximize unproductive land in their area. Located in a bumpy hill, some sub villages face water shortage during the dry season and lack for access to daily foods, depending only on local crops. Through the aquaponic, the groups can harvest their fish and vegetables in a relatively short period of farming and do not need plenty of water. The harvest can be used both by the groups and for sale in the local community. More than that, they also distributed profit for social fund, preparedness fund and other needs, such as for petty cash and business development. Other than developing aquaponic farming, the women groups also produce organic fertiliser and fungicide as well as build owl houses as a natural way of preventing pest. This is part of local wisdom that the local people still maintain until today.
Another practice that was initiated by the women groups was water purification. The well water in some parts of Muncar is not clear and contains high level of iron. With capacity building of the groups, they learnt how to purify water using physical and chemical processes so that it can be used for their daily needs. Water filtration media is also used by women groups in Kemiri Sub Village to treat household wastewater for irrigation.
Unlike the practices in Temanggung, the women group in Kedungpoh Village, Gunungkidul initiated to grow short-term crops such as red ginger and other types of rhizomes among the hard wood. They grow teak tree and other hard wood to prevent landslide while growing red ginger can become alternative short-term income for them rather than the perennials, which can only generate income in tens of years ahead. The groups also grow crops in polybags, considering the structure of the land that tend to be dry and rocky.
Other than prone to landslide, Gunungkidul is often struck by drought due to prolonged dry season. To tackle this kind of risk, farmers group in Giripurwo has been conserving an artificial lake as source of water during long dry season. They also grew local variety seedlings which has a short time of harvesting and drought resistant. In addition, the community also provided demonstration plot for organic farming to see the harvest before they apply the organic farming in their own land.
These resilience practices are one of the evidences that women groups, that often been seen as vulnerable and passive, have proved themselves to be innovative and able to contribute to strengthen their community in response to the challenges of their daily life. Not only have the cross visits given them more knowledge, but also motivated their groups to develop or expand other resilient practices in their own area and involve more women to participate.