Yan Kanahebi
Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 09:41

By Yan Kanahebi
Program Officer

Lessons from a multi-tasking wonder woman

As a field officer for the Wonder Women Program, I come across women who are interested in what we do every day. Many want to join the program but they often have limited time to dedicate to the program while they are busy with household activities. This is a real challenge for us. But, with Maria Bernadetta Amsikan from Kefa, or Ibu Detty as we call her, this is not the case.

As a mother of two small children, a teacher in a nearby school, the owner of a small kiosk, and an active member of her local church and community, Ibu Detty is definitely a very busy woman. But somehow she still manages to stay actively involved in the Wonder Women Program. As a father of two myself, I often wonder how Ibu Detty manages to find time for her family and to juggle with what seems to me like a ton of activities.

Recently, I had the chance to speak with her and I was struck by her dedication. Every day, she wakes up at four in the morning to start her household routine. She begins with cooking and preparing breakfast for her husband and children, followed by cleaning the house, washing and ironing the clothes, and attending to the many other needs of her children. Her household tasks end at 7am, just in time for her to go to work as a teacher. After finishing teaching at around 2pm, she finds some time to rest while looking after her kiosk. And only after all of this can she begin her tasks as a Wonder Woman: delivering clean energy technologies - such as solar lights, water filters, and biomass cookstoves - to her customers.

Amazingly, she does this while doing yet more community based activities such as practising in the church choir. Watching her, I learn so much - from how she manages her time to how she utilises her extensive activities to make new sales opportunities for the clean technologies.

In this regard, she expertly kills two birds with one stone, so to speak. For example, shortly after joining the program, Ibu Detty noticed that both teachers and children at her school usually consumed bottled water, increasing the plastic trash around the school gardens. Seeing this opportunity, she brought a Nazava Water Filter to school and demonstrated how it worked. After recognising the benefits, the school headmaster decided to provide the school with one of the filters for communal use. This decreased the plastic waste and contributed to family cost savings. And now, almost every teacher in Ibu Detty’s school use Nazava Water Filters in their homes.

By playing multiple roles as a mother, wife, teacher, entrepreneur, and also a micro-social entrepreneur of clean energy technologies, Ibu Detty is truly a wonder woman. Despite her busy life, in just eleven months, she has successfully distributed more than 100 clean technologies within her community, contributing to the improved health of the people around her.

But at the end of the day, the most important thing I have learned from Ibu Detty is about family. Ibu Detty manages to maintain a healthy and happy family while also undertaking the tasks in her busy schedule. And it is only with the support of her family that she is in a position to really succeed as a Wonder Woman.

Even today, I continue to learn so much from Ibu Detty and I hope other people do too.