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Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto    

Founder and president of Telapak

Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto is the president of Telapak. He specializes in working with NGOs to provide a framework for people-to-people cooperation and trade initiatives for natural resource management. He has also produced several video documentaries and co-authored publications on coral reef, coastal and marine issues.

The rate of unsustainable environmental practices is one of the highest in Indonesia. Telapak came into existence in response to the rise of illegal logging activities and the depletion of marine life. The lack of education and awareness of environmental issues have been draining the country of its natural resources since its colonial days. Concessions exploit the land and some businesses use bribery and other illicit means to gain permits. When Telapak first started, there was no effective monitoring mechanism to oversee the quota system for the harvesting of timber, coral and fishing. Indigenous people living near these natural resources were also under conflict with large companies over land and resource rights. In response to these issues, Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto, Silverius Oscar Unggul and four other friends started Telapak.

Telapak is an association of NGO activists, business practitioners, academics, media affiliates and leaders of indigenous groups working together to promote ecological justice, cultural integrity and economic empowerment. Telapak sustains its activities through cooperatives and community enterprises. Current initiatives include printing, mass media, local politics, fisheries and forestry. These interrelated business units support each other in raising public awareness. In clarifying its positioning, Telapak is not anti-development. The organization, however, does promote sustainable logging and sustainable marine coral farming. In fact, Telapak is the first successful producer and exporter of exclusively non-cyanide ornamental fish and coral.

Telapak's work is carried out by its business units, social enterprises whose profits are reinvested back into Telapak and the communities it seeks to help. The business units include three independent TV channels, Gekko video productions, Kippy printing, the Kedai Caf, a scientific research group, as well as the production of eco-friendly food products from the villages.

Telapak also runs a cooperative programme that reaches out to and oversees the welfare of indigenous people living near natural resources. The cooperative has introduced insurance schemes, credit and savings programs, as well as resource management education and a Forest Watch initiative. Telapak business units and the cooperative all work together to achieve the mission of the organization. For example, the printing business will publish the scientific research units work, and the TV and radio stations will broadcast illegal logging activity discovered by the communities. In addition, Kedai Caf is a sales channel for many of the products produced by the villagers. To date, Telapak's activities impacts 16 out of the 33 provinces in Indonesia.

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