At the end of May, financial trainings for the participants of the 1 Million Trees program took place in the program villages of Talaken, Bereng Jun and Takaras. Overall, 70 people participated, whereof 42 were female and 28 male. The workshops were held by our partner organization, the Borneo Institute, in cooperation with Lembaga Dayak Panarung, an NGO specialized in microfinance based in Palangka Raya. For the local village population, gaining access to financial instruments is often difficult. Banks are only located in the province capital, and only very few people actually have bank accounts. Usually the only suppliers of loans are private money lenders who demand exorbitantly high interest rates. Therefore, the workshop aimed at providing the participants with fundamental financial knowledge and establishing understanding in finance. With this knowledge, participants are able to plan budgets for their families for instance, calculate costs as well as planning ahead. .
In addition, participants can directly apply the acquired knowledge within the 1 Million Trees program. Part of the conveyed contents, for example, were profit calculations in order to enable participants to calculate the value as well as the amount of timber provided from the trees on their fields and thereby being able to independently assess the offers of potential buyers.
Women often play a crucial role in this field, which is why they are the primary target audience of these trainings. Of course the workshops are also open to other interested groups like single men who take part as smallholders in the program as well.
The overall goal of these trainings is to enable families to become more independent, to plan ahead for themselves and also to be able to manage the available finances. Additionally, the participants learn to set up simple business plans in order to approach microfinance organizations on the other hand, to be eligible for receiving microcredits.