I am so excited with the progress of our project in Bojonegoro. In the last month Kopernik and our local partner Farabi have completed a series of mini technology fairs and a round of Focus Group Discussions (FGD).
These events took place across seven villages with a total of 190 participants, of which 75 per cent were women.
I was really glad that all the heads of village, their wives and all the village midwives supported and attended the mini fairs.
I have learned a lot through this process. One thing that really bothers me is the time issue. Most Indonesians regard time as “jam karet” - loosely translated as rubber time, meaning that things always start later than planned. It's a self fulfilling prophecy as everyone thinks the same thing and everyone always arrives late. So seeing that the first tech fair started an hour late, we decided to be a bit more relaxed on the next day and turned up late. But no! Everyone was waiting for us - lesson learned!
There are other lessons too. Always tell people whether you are single or married. Everyone always asks! And always start the event with a prayer! And finally, always be ready to deal with the various 'requests' of the village heads. I've figured out a way to avoid this politely.
We have achieved a lot through these tech fairs, including the all important relationships we've formed with the village heads who have been active participants in the process. We had a great turn out by the community and we even had two of the inventors (Nazava water purifier and the biomass cookstove) attend the tech fairs to explain how the technology worked.
We had 133 women participate in the FGDs where we discussed people's ideas and concerns regarding pricing of the technologies, issues regarding payment, how the products should be distributed. We also talked about their behavior vis a vis drinking water and energy consumption.
133 women participated in 7 FGDs and 68 per cent of them have already placed an order to buy the tech and participate in the program.
The most popular product is the Nazava Bening 1 water purifier - more about that and distribution next week. Stay tuned!