Borneo’s All-Women Wildfire Fighting Crew

A Power of Mama volunteer firefighter in West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of International Animal Rescue.

When your community is continuously faced with the health ramifications of forest fires, poor farming practices, and damaged habitats, you roll up your sleeves and get involved. At least that’s what 92 women in Borneo, Indonesia have done.

The Power of Mama

The all-women volunteer team, The Power of Mama, formed largely in response to members’ experiences caring for their own children during the 2019 haze. They’re committed to protecting their children and communities from fire disasters.

A dynamic approach

  • Fighting fires. During fire season, volunteers patrol fire hazard areas (like dried peatlands) to catch new fires early, and actively fight fires with a hose, pump, and portable water tank.
  • Outreach and education. In the rainy season, the team focuses on outreach.
    • Traditionally, Indonesian farmers have used fires to quickly clear new farmland, remove pests, and enrich soil with nitrogen. The Power of Mama encourages farmers to adopt new practices—like composting—to enrich soil and boost productivity on existing land.
    • The team also helps with mangrove forest restoration efforts and teaches groups of children about land conservation.

Intrigued? Read more about the Power of Mama’s work in Indonesia.

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