Canadian-funded Project Explores the Role of Indonesian Women Leaders during the COVID-19 Pandemic


JAKARTA, 11 February 2021 – The National Support for Local Investment Climates/National Support for Enhancing Local and Regional Economic Development (NSLIC/NSELRED) Project hosted an online talk show to address the strengths, challenges, and opportunities faced by women entrepreneurs, and their leadership role in the business and public sector during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The event took place on the margins of International Development Week 2021 (IDW2021), an annual initiative hosted by the Government of Canada and Canadian development organizations to celebrate the contribution of Canada and Canadians to international development. This year’s IDW2021 takes place from February 7-13 with a focus on gender equality, health and climate change. IDW2021’s slogan – “Go for the Goals” – underlines Canada’s commitment to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Studies show that COVID19 has disproportionately impacted women’s businesses around the world – including here in Indonesia.

Understanding the specific challenges facing Indonesia’s women, especially rural women, the Canadian Embassy is providing capacity building and technical support to help them start, adjust, and expand their businesses via the NSLIC/NSLRED project. Today’s event allows us all to learn from these remarkable women about the opportunities and challenges they are facing during the pandemic”, said H.E. Cameron MacKay, Ambassador of Canada for Indonesia.

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Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Suryani Motik conveyed that in the current crisis situation, housewives act as the finance minister of the family as well as leader who provide an example for children. This demand forces women to struggle to maintain the family economy and to maintain the business they have built. Women will not hesitate or be embarrassed to start business from scratch.

Since its inception, NSLIC/NSELRED has supported over 4,600 businesses, half of which are owned by women, with provision of technical assistance to strengthen business management skills and develop local commodities into marketable, innovative products.

The project has reached over 70,000 beneficiaries, 40 percent of which are women. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) participating in the project have benefited from assistance to develop new sales strategies, including online sales and marketing helping companies to open new markets and establish business links with a wide range of partners to facilitate improved market access for products such as corn, coffee, coconut, organic rice, and palm sugar in 28 regencies. The project is aligned with the Government of Indonesia’s 2020-2024 National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and supports 18 out of the 39 national priority areas.

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“We are pleased to support this talk-show, which brings together prominent women business leaders, women entrepreneurs leading small and medium sized businesses, and gender equality champions from 34 provinces of Indonesia”, said Cavelle Dove, Project Director of NSLIC/NSELRED.

She further explained that through creating opportunities for dialogue and by promoting women’s contribution to the economy, especially during the current pandemic, we seek to advance gender equality and demonstrate the important role that women play in their family, community and Indonesian society as a whole.

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The National Support for Local Investment Climates/National Support for Enhancing Local and Regional Economic Development (NSLIC/NSELRED) is a project funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and in partnership with the Government of Indonesia through the National Development Planning Ministry (BAPPENAS).

The project objective is to increase the employment opportunities and income of poor men and women in Indonesia, by improving the investment climate and supporting the development of competitive MSMEs, through addressing key constraints in business regulations, promoting regional and national economic cooperation, supporting national government roles in local and regional economic development and increasing access to business development services for cooperatives and MSMEs in order to improve the ease of doing business. The project is implemented by Cowater International, a global international development company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and with corporate hubs in Brussels, London, Montreal and Nairobi. (***)