East Lombok, Indonesia – Homemade cassava chips are a common way to earn a living for the women of Geres Village. But their chip production capacity is limited, as is their market. To expand their business, they need to improve their processes and acquire certifications.

Leading renewable energy company Vena Energy, in collaboration with an Indonesian state university and the local government, facilitated livelihood training for 30 village women with experience in cassava chip production. The trainees are mostly housewives and women who were not able to pursue higher education. They are also members of Jeger Buana Lombok (JBL), a women’s group working together on ways to improve the livelihoods of village women. After the training, JBL members are hoping to modernize their production and eventually get Halal certification and accreditation.

The Asian Development Bank, together with Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP) and the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia II (CFPS II), provided Vena Energy with a $40.2 million financing package to support its four solar power plants in Eastern Indonesia. These investments are directly improving the lives of local women in surrounding villages, including Geres.

“Vena Energy will also provide us with a new stainless machine for our cassava chips production. This will ensure our cassava chips process will be hygienic. Equipped with new skills and knowledge, we also hope to make our production faster and easier. We are excited about the opportunities that this training will bring us. We are hopeful that the training and support from Vena Energy and ADB will improve our livelihoods in the future,” said head of JBL Kustina Harwati.

Kustina with Vena Energy and training facilitators from Mataram University and Eastern Lombok local government. Photo: ADB

JBL members are also hopeful for a promising future as their business grows. Here’s how they see their lives being improved by their expanding cassava chips operation.

“I have a small grocery store and have some experience in managing a small business. I hope with this training I could also do my own cassava production in the future and sell the chips in my own store. The earnings I will get from selling cassava chips will help me cover some of our house expenses and also save for my children’s education.”
- Miskia, 35, store owner

Miskia, Vena Energy trainee in Eastern Indonesia. Photo: ADB

“I share my experience and skill in producing cassava chips to younger women in our village through this training. They are the typical women who wish to do something good to improve their lives, to improve their economic condition. I am happy to see that those who used to have zero skill in this kind of production are now learning a new skill. I also hope everyone who joins this training will improve their lives and help other women in the future.”
- Isim, 54, veteran cassava chips maker

Isim, JBL member and local trainer for Vena Energy's livelihood training in Geres Village, East Lombok. Photo: ADB

“I have produced cassava chips myself but in the traditional ways. Thanks to this training, I’ve learned a new and innovative way to increase cassava production. I’ve also learned creative ways to make the chips look more appetizing and taste better. I hope to improve my own cassava chip production and eventually provide jobs to other women here in our village.”
- Salmiatun, 34

Salmiatun, Vena Energy trainee in Eastern Indonesia. Photo: ADB

“I am very fortunate to join this training. I want to gain a new skill and help improve our cassava business. I have three children all in elementary school. If we can expand our cassava chips business the additional income will help pay my children’s school fees.”
-Suryani, 35, married with three children

Suryani, Vena Energy trainee in Eastern Indonesia. Photo: ADB

Related video

Learn more about how ADB supports the integration of strong gender and development initiatives into its solar power projects in Eastern Indonesia. Watch: Power and Empower: Improving Lombok Women's Lives by Investing in Clean Energy