PJI Wins the JALabs Award

Mar 1, 2022 – We are incredibly pleased to announce PJI’s success, as one of five nations, in securing the 2022 JALabs Award provided by JA Worldwide. Funding, to the value of USD19,000, will be applied to benefit our young entrepreneurs in Papua. The outline and strategy of digital engagement is provided below.

Working with the support of the Prudential Indonesia Corporation PJI has, since 2018, implemented an initiative in the remote eastern province of Papua which addresses the challenge of economic exclusion encountered by ethnic Papuans. Known as Youth Entrepreneurship Education (YEE) the initiative has identified one hundred young people with the potential to contribute positively to the economy. We have then engaged them in a comprehensive program promoting entrepreneurship which has culminated in the successful operation of fifty-five new businesses. The premise for establishing YEE is that young Papuans, and their families, have been forced to transcend from participation in a traditional economy to engagement within a modern market-driven version within the period of just two generations and this has resulted in significant economic and social issues (unemployment, crime, alcohol abuse etc.). Although an Indigenous population most young Papuans do not possess the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and self-confidence to successfully actualize small business enterprises in the region they call home and commerce is dominated by immigrants to the region.

YEE has focused on the economic empowerment of females through the development and operation of small business enterprises which utilize local resources such as coffee, fish, and sago. A preliminary needs assessment was conducted which ascertained and specific characteristics of community needs, cultural sensitivity, resource availability, and alignment with tribal and local government concerns and objectives. Program implementation covers a period of 36 months involving two separate 18-month cohorts of thirty beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 32. Individual businesses are developed through mobilization of a purpose developed curriculum and delivery strategies which incorporate numeracy, financial literacy, many aspects of entrepreneurship training, and business-focused digital literacy. PJI’s trained coaches are placed within the community to support these young entrepreneurs and their expertise and support is provided through regular one-on -one business coaching and life coaching meetings.

YEE involves a suite of educational experiences which encompass the core JA Worldwide pillars. The principal focus is on entrepreneurship; however, a key component of training and support is the creation of an improved understanding of financial literacy with an objective of securing financial inclusion for young adult Papuans.

Given the special characteristics of communities we are serving our beneficiaries tend to be young adults rather than youth. This is due to a perceived lack of opportunities for engagement in sustained entrepreneurial training by youth. It is evident that it is not until the local population are well into their twenties that a realization of the importance of a sustainable livelihood occurs. Therefore, the JA Labs 2.0 funding and support will augment those best YEE businesses operated by mature beneficiaries – encouraging an impactful use of digital strategies and tools to further improve business performance. This involves the integration of specific strategies which bridge the divide between each business product or service and potential markets. This exciting prospect will engage the children or grandchildren of families, who have previously participated in a totally subsistence lifestyle, in business technologies representative of a modern economy.

PJI began this initiative with USAID support in East Java involving 5,546 participants beginning in 2017 and ending 2020. Success encouraged us to apply a similar undertaking in the remote eastern province of Papua involving 100 (60 batch 1 + 40 batch 2) over 36 months. A new USAID digital safety and cybersecurity initiative working with the same demographic is now underway with an aim to reach seven hundred young women.

PJI’s experience in the delivery of programs similar in nature to YEE has incorporated resources and support from a range of partners and resulted in a range of unique ‘assets’ enabling project success. Examples of these proof points of success include;

i) achieving an understanding of cultural considerations and developing a curriculum and strategies which encourage economic advancement. At this time fifty-five new businesses (as of Dec 31, 20210) have been created and sustained pandemic impact,

ii) building impactful relationships with local stakeholders, including government officials (Cooperatives and small and medium enterprise office, Culture, and tourism office), business owners (mentors), and church-based groups (advocacy), all of which have contributed positively to program success,

iii) securing employment of three excellent Papuan female staff who have, because of lived experience, been able to build strong partnerships between Papuan communities and PJI’s YEE strategies,

iv) creating a library of resources which drives YEE training and support and is utilized for replication elsewhere,

v) contributing USD90,000 to the local economy of Jayapura city over a period of eight months. This is a direct result of revenue generated by new businesses established by YEE, and

vi) comprehensive smart phone ownership has meant that specialized digital technology can be utilized both for training purposes and integrated within the operations of each new business. This has included the optimization of PJI’s partnership with WhatsApp and the use of WA for Business as an online store and the utilization of social media for product promotion.

Additional Scaling for sixteen beneficiaries of STEM with a focus on the integration of digital technology within business operations. Break-down of costs as follows;

1. Preparation (Socialization, Selection Process, Briefing for Selected Participants) for 1 Month US$ 754.
2. Intensive Business Assistance & Regular Mentoring for 4 Months for 16 Selected Participants US$ 7,739.
3. Culmination Event (Online), including Prize for 3 The Most Progressive Business Leaders for 1 Month US$ 2,145.
4. Staffing; 1 Program Manager & 2 Trainers (15%) and 2 Coaches embedded within community (50%) for 6 Months US$ 5,722.
5. Overhead & Admin Cost (Utility Cost & Office Rent (5% Charging), and Backoffice Support Staff (Charging 2%) for 6 Months) US$ 2,640

Intended outcomes of support provided by JA Labs 2.0:

1. Apply digital technology to increase operational efficiency, improve profitability, and create a long-term sustainable business operation. PJI is currently implementing a Digital Asia Accelerator initiative with the support of USAID in other locations of Indonesia and JA Labs 2.0 funding will enable us to integrate components of, for example, digital safety and cybersecurity (a significant issue in Indonesia) as part of business operation. The targeted businesses will benefit from implementation of strategies which safeguard financial, intellectual property, and other important components of business operation.

2. PJI has taken advantage of the high prevalence of Smartphone ownership within the cohorts of young adults we work with, and opportunities exist to continue provide selected participants with specific digital literacy training which includes building digital marketing competencies using their devices. The objective is to encourage the creation of a competitive advantage through innovation. A key element is to strengthen everyone’s confidence in the use of digital technology and encourage an appreciation of the value it provides for their business operation.

Given the unique characteristics of the community we are collaborating with it is imperative that we involve young adults in the planning and ongoing refinement of the YEE initiative. This has involved multiple strategies including;

1. The employment of two Papuan staff members who are familiar with social ecosystems and cultural challenges. This has enabled PJI to become much more engaged with the local community and creates opportunities for beneficiary feedback and adoption of their recommendations within the overall context of YEE.

2. Training sessions are very experiential and involve song/dance and additional ‘firsthand’ engagement. This strategy is a result of input received from beneficiaries at project outset and has proven to be most impactful.

3. The targeted community are much more familiar with the local resources and the potential for the use of these within the scope of their commercial activities.

4. Visibility of YEE has been enhanced by the creation of videos and other social media tools developed by beneficiaries and circulated within the Jayapura city community. Because these have been produced locally, they emphasize cultural norms, local resources, opportunities for networking, and possible private-public sector engagement.

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