PEKKA, founded by JASS Southeast Asia Coordinator Nani Zulminarni, has received yet another honor for its innovative and effective work. This time, the kudos came from the Japanese Social Development Fund and the World Bank. PEKKA’s honor is the result of a rigorous assessment process. First, the JSDF selected 20 of their 250 grantees to feature and honor for best practices. Then experts from The World Bank spent months assessing all of the 20 projects through field visits and in-depth study. They used several criteria—impact, reach, innovation, sustainability—and PEKKA scored the highest in all categories.
Nani says, the “recognition will affect the sustainability of our organization and positions us well for continued and new funding. It’s an important stamp of approval.”
Petronella Peniloli, is the village chief of Nisa Nulan, Adonara Island, Indonesia. The first female chief of her village, she has brought electricity, a road, healthcare center and water supply to her community in just 4 years after waiting 65 years for these developments since Indonesia’s independence.
Petronella has been a leader in PEKKA since 2005 and used her leadership training to run for office. PEKKA and its vast grassroots network accompanied her successful campaign.
Rather than leading in the traditional, top-down style, Petronella applies the principles and methodologies of community organizing—learned through PEKKA – in running her village. Today, she engages everyone in participatory planning and budgeting, which helps her community come to agreements about priorities and how to use their resources.
As Petronella explains:
“I make decisions as a leader not only using my logic and thinking, but I use my heart and my empathy. As a mother and a widow who has raised sons alone, I give more attention to the poorest people because I know what it’s like to be poor… At the beginning, even just after I was elected, I still didn’t have the courage to speak out. Slowly I overcame all of my doubts and uncertainty from my teaching and my culture. Now I’m used to it, even though I’m still the only woman who’s a village head. People listen to me. I feel free to speak my heart and my mind.”