Wed, 18 Oct 2000

Woman activist gets int'l award

MEDAN, North Sumatra: Ngatini Tarmuji, a resident of Anggrek village, Pantai Labu district in Deli Serdang regency, has been selected to receive an award from the Geneva-based Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) for her struggle to fight a land expropriation conducted by a military cooperative in 1991.

The Foundation said that the mother of five, along with 33 other recipients, was chosen among 200 nominees for the Prize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life.

Ngatini will receive a US$500 cash prize with the award.

The land dispute occurred in 1991 when a local military cooperative expropriated land belonging to local villagers to be converted into a palm oil plantation.

Throughout the adversity, the 49-year-old Ngatini actively lobbied the National Land Agency, local authorities, including military and police, and established a network with students, nongovernmental organizations and legal institutions to fight the expropriation.

Villagers now occupy the land despite the fact that they still do not possess ownership papers.

Ngatini has continued her activism and become a leader of a local woman's group which successfully lobbied the central government to provide Angrek village with better irrigation, electricity, public school, a mosque and transportation facilities. (lup)