Over the past decade, women and girls in science have made tremendous progress in accelerating the push towards international sustainable development goals. Women represent half of the Indonesian population, therefore, represent half of the potential for advancement in the field of STEM. Gender disparity in education creates a competitive disadvantage for countries at the forefront of climate change by limiting their innovative capacity. To tackle conservation efforts, enhancing female participation in higher education is crucial for the survival of the planet.
Orangutan Scholarship Recipient in the Field
"Women make up half of the world's population, yet only a fraction sits at the decision-making table.” Farwiza Farhan
In the forest communities of Sumatra and Borneo, women and conservation are intrinsically linked. Now more than ever, women are coming forward in the form of grassroots to protect the landscape from which they source their livelihoods. Women are finally able to go into their surrounding forests and fearlessly protect their waterways and food sources from the impact of illegal logging, palm oil plantation, and deforestation. Training the next generation of community conservation leaders in the field of STEM is a primary focus of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation.
Equal access to education is a fundamental human right – one which the Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) is aiming to achieve through the Orangutan Caring Scholarship
Program. The OURF is proud to award over half of the Orangutan Caring Scholarship (OCS
) to women in the fields of forestry, biology, and veterinary science. These talented recipients have demonstrated not only academic success in the field but also a profound commitment to enhancing conservation efforts in their local communities.
Student in Veterinary Science Lab
Meet Prillicia– awarded the Scholarship in 2018, she is in her final semester at the PalangkaRaya University in Central Kalimantan. She is currently majoring in forestry and plans to graduate in April 2022. Her research focuses on community-based orangutan habitat conservation at the Mega Rice Project. Through continuous study, Prillicia has identified that the planting of nest trees (orangutan feed trees) can help halt environmental degradation in this area. Community involvement in conservation is important to her because wildfires and deforestation not only result in biodiversity loss but directly affect her community as well. Prillicia believes people need to work with nature to protect it and through the Scholarship, can continue her career in conservation post-graduation.
Meet Dian– a scholarship recipient at the University of Palangka Raya. Dian is currently conducting her academic studies both in the classroom and in the field at the Hampangen Education Forest laboratory. Fieldwork conducted at the laboratory is aimed to preserve native tree species subject to deforestation, such as ironwood trees. The OCS has helped Dian focus her curriculum and research on tree physiology, soil, and water conservation.
Dian Atma Sari
Meet Mega– a student from the small town of Ketapang, West Borneo. She commenced her study through the scholarship program in 2018 at the University of Tanjung Pura, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The OCS has given Mega the unique ability to pursue education while relieving the financial burden on her family. Soon reaching the end of her studies, Mega believes that the scholarship has allowed her to dive deeper into environmental conservation in her native West Borneo. Mega will conduct her final semester of research and hopes to become an advocate of the environment and indigenous people’s welfare after graduation.
Mega Oktavia Gunawan
“The power of these women is patience and persistence. They’re embedded in the community [...] they learn to navigate the tricky path of being a strong female leader in a conservative patriarchal society,” says Farwiza.
These three women represent a small fraction of scholarship recipients vital to the empowerment of female-led conservation in Indonesia. They are the future of community-led grassroots protecting orangutans, Sumatran tigers, rhinos, and native flora and fauna. Empowering women in STEM will help close the gender gap while saving the wild forests of Sumatra and Borneo.
Orangutan Scholarship Program Students
How You Can Help
The OURF has invested in the future of women and girls, creating advocates of orangutan and forest conservation. Continued support of students like Pricilla, Dian, and Mega is critical to the survival of the Sumatran and Bornean Rainforests. The Orangutan Caring Scholarship is fundamental to the conservation efforts of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. To sponsor a scholarship recipient in STEM, please visit our website to find out more.About Orang Utan Republik Foundation
The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) (www.orangutanrepublik.org
) is a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity with a mission to save wild orangutans through education initiatives and innovative, collaborative projects. It also serves as the US chapter of The Orangutan Project expanding its reach and support to over a dozen orangutan support organizations in Indonesia and Malaysia (www. the orangutan project.org)