Entrepreneurship lifts young people out of poverty

Chris Simoens
14 May 2018
The European Union has invested one million euros in West Timor with the aim of teaching marginalised young people entrepreneurship through cattle breeding. Project manager Yedityah Mella of Plan International Indonesia explains.
 

Unemployment is a huge problem in my province of East Nusa Tenggara (Indonesia), which also includes West Timor. Nearly eighty percent of the people who do earn money work in the informal sector and therefore lack access to social security. More and more young people are leaving school early, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of low-skilled workers. Many young people go abroad to get started, for example to work as a maid.

 

Cattle villages

Together with my employer, Plan International Indonesia, the European Union wants to bring about change. From 2016 to 2019, the EU will invest one million euros in order to help young people, especially women, earn an income. The project is supposed to reach 2,000 young people from West Timor through eight local civil society organisations which receive 50,000 euros each. They will also be given training on cattle trade, on how to raise cows, pigs and poultry, how to involve women and young people, how to produce cattle feed from local materials, and so on.

The project is supposed to reach 2,000 young people from West Timor through eight local civil society organisations which receive 50,000 euros each.

The local authorities have invested a total of 200 million Indonesian rupiah (14,500 euros) in order to help setting up special 'cattle villages' that should enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of young people. The first cattle village was opened in May 2017 by the EU ambassador to Indonesia.

Support for these marginalised young people is really needed, as they do not only lack the financial means, but also the skills and technical knowledge to deliver a high-quality product. Besides, they hardly have a network. That is why I tell young people who want to set up a business that the following three elements are essential: sufficient motivation and availability, a concrete idea of what they want to do, and adequate technical competence.

 

That is why I tell young people who want to set up a business that the following three elements are essential: sufficient motivation and availability, a concrete idea of what they want to do, and adequate technical competence.

 

Yedityah Mella

Portret Yedityah Mella
© Plan International Indonesia

Polychronic

Indonesia’s business climate is very different from that in Europe. We have a completely different view of time, daily life and communication. Europe has a 'monochronic' culture: time is important, punctuality is a virtue and dedication to the timetable and the job is a good thing. Indonesia has a 'polychronic' culture. We attach much more importance to traditions and relationships than to time. It does not matter when you are late, and you are allowed to let go of your timetable if it benefits your personal relationships. This is something you have to take into account when setting up a business.

The Indonesian government is taking measures to encourage entrepreneurship, for example among young women, but these could be more specific. Our project is already seen as a success story, as illustrated by the regular visits we have received from local government employees. At the European Development Days (EDDs) in Brussels (June 2018), our project will be the only one to represent the EU functioning in Southeast Asia. It also fits the theme of this year’s EDDs, namely strengthening the social and economic position of women.

Livestock Entrepreneurship Indonesia
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