Supporting the MSMEs Development and Culture Preservation, Pendopo Does  Community Assistance Towards Sikka Ikat Weaver Communities

Supporting the MSMEs Development and Culture Preservation, Pendopo Does Community Assistance Towards Sikka Ikat Weaver Communities

13th February 2023

As the support regarding culture preservation and the advancement of MSMEs (UMKM) in Indonesia, Pendopo, house for local MSMEs that has cooperated with over 200 MSMEs all over the country, that is under PT ACE Hardware Indonesia Tbk as part of Kawan Lama Group, undertakes community empowerment through assistance to cultural people of ikat woven communities in Sikka Regency, East Nusa Tenggara that was undertaken since September 2021 to October 2022. The assistance had reached over 90 weavers from four weaver communities, namely Tati Nahing, Na’ni House, Bliran Sina, and Watubo. From over 90 weavers trained, 75% of them were female, carrying a hope that they could be independent and were able to participate in enhancing family welfare. Besides that, as a regeneration purpose, the program also reached young weavers (24% from the total), including from "Remaja Flores Creative" community, aged 18 to 34 years old. The ikat woven fabric outputs were then collaborated with local designers and marketed through Pendopo. Through the assistance, Pendopo succeeded to increase weavers’ economy up to 122% (compared to before assistance was done) and the addition of 12 new workers in the communities. Almost 50% of the weavers have implemented price standardization, and each community had also done bookkeeping of their business and household spendings. 

Sikka ikat woven is one of national cultural heritages from Sikka Regency, Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara. Made from ikat coloring technique and weaving process that can take months, this heritage is kept preserved due to its high philosophical and aesthetic value. Sikka ikat woven has also been registered as one of geographical indicators released by the Directorate General of Intellectual Property in March 2017.

To maintain weaving standardization and for educational material for new weavers which is one of Pendopo’s commitments to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, also as a token of Pendopo’s commitment in preserving Indonesia heritage, Pendopo created a module about defining prices, financial management, applying woven fabric standard quality, and various technical knowledge about coloring process using natural materials and woven motives. Maximizing woven output and marketing, Pendopo also gave four portable weaving looms to ease the weaving process because of its portability, resulting in the woven fabric's quality being maintained. These looms were also useful for exhibition purposes. Given also over 200 tree seeds for natural coloring, so the woven fabric produced was environmentally friendly. Pendopo also made 50 catalogs about threads, fabric, and motives to support the weavers' business, also logo as branding support. 

Assistance was started by the social mapping process and collecting required data to make the proper program in September 2021, where there were found limitation regarding access to the market, financial management and woven fabric production management, including the absence of standardization about fabric’s prices and quality. Answering these, a series of trainings and assistance were undertaken gradually for 29 times since December 2021 to September 2022, comprising various human resources trainings (including weavers regeneration), financial reports making, production and orders acceptance managements, to making "demplot" (counseling method) of natural coloring (re-planting). 

To enhance the competitive advantage of Sikka ikat woven fabric, Pendopo collaborated with Didiet Maulana, famous fashion designer and wastra (cultural fabric) enthusiast, held a workshop in June 2022 at the office of Bappeda (Regional Development Planning Agency) of Sikka Regency and attended by representatives of various weaver communities. Didiet said, “Today's workshop is to dig into the potentials, bring innovation, explore products from Sikka ikat woven fabric regarding the latest style, and support weavers regeneration. Indeed, various matters need to be adjusted to the latest style, but surely they have to be kept aligned with the values of the ancestors that reflect in the characteristics of wastra. I hope this training can help the heritage of Sikka ikat woven fabric to be more enjoyed, not only by wastra lovers, but also the public." 

The Regent of Sikka Regency, Fransiskus Roberto Diogo who attended the event gave his support, “We truly appreciate Pendopo’s initiative that gives workshop to the Sikka ikat weaver communities, especially regarding the attention in urging regeneration process from senior weavers to the young ones, which is required to preserve Sikka ikat woven fabric. Hopefully through the workshop, Sikka ikat woven fabric can be sustainable, and our next generation can enjoy the heritage from their ancestors.”

Regeneration is one of the challenges in developing Sikka ikat woven fabric, where the cultural heritage from the ancestors needs to be passed through to the next generation. Met at the workshop, a participant, Wilfridus Semesta Rewo (20 years) gave his opinion, “This ikat woven fabric culture has been passed through for generations in my family. Nowadays I lead a welfare group named Ikat Flores Creative. I urge young people of Sikka to keep loving and preserving ikat woven fabric culture as one of our cultural wealth and also our living.”

For opening wider market access, there was held Sikka Fashion Show in Pendopo, Living World Alam Sutera at 23 November 2022. The event presented up to 58 collections made of Sikka ikat woven fabric, collaborated with Didiet Maulana and Iyonono, young fashion designer who is focused on housewives empowerment. 

Tasya Widya Krisnadi, Director of Pendopo, stated, “Pendopo comes as an ecosystem that boosts Indonesia heritage preservation through three main focuses, which are product, people, and nation. That’s why we don’t want to just do selling and curating, but also boosting local product quality enhancement through various collaborations which we implement through assistance and training programs in Sikka.”