Anisa Handayani: Breaking the Stereotype

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Anisa Handayani’s dream to help conserve the environment started to become reality when she won a National Championship Scholarship from Tanoto Foundation to study Agribusiness in Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM) in 2009.

"I applied for the National Championship Scholarship from Tanoto Foundation because they don't only offer financial support for students, but also competency and skill improvement through various training. So I thought ‘why not?’" said Anisa.

After graduating from UGM in 2012, she was hired as a Sustainability Officer for the Environmental, Sustainability, and Corporate Social Responsibility Department in Asian Agri. "Since the training period, I asked to be placed on the sustainability team. Thank God I was given the opportunity to work for the sustainability team and follow my dream to conserve the environment," she said.

Her main duties are to take care of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and ISPO (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System) certifications. "My job is to coordinate with other unit leaders in order to check that they implement the sustainability aspects when managing the plantation."

Anisa spends most of her time on the plantation in Negeri Lama, Labuhanbatu, North Sumatra, where she ensures that sustainability efforts are being implemented correctly. She also assists with data collection and sustainability reporting. Her proudest professional moment was when the company passed its sustainability audit with no problems. "In 2014-2015 there were no major findings on the sustainability audit. I was proud for such an achievement," she said.

Her journey has not been an easy one. Plantations are traditionally a male-dominated environment. When she joined almost four years ago there were those among her co-workers who doubted she would be able to cope with the sometimes tough physical labor, particularly given that she was a city-dweller, having been raised in Yogyakarta.

But with her determination and strong backing of the management and the company, she has proven them wrong.

“If I wasn't underestimated like that, maybe I won't be able to prove them wrong," she said.

That support includes a gender committee, which was set up to protect, empower and educate women in the workplace, as well as deal with any potential challenges.

After graduation she was given extensive training in the Asian Agri Learning Institute, where was learned more about plantation management, nature conservation and pest control.

Anisa appreciates the work of Asian Agri and Tanoto Foundation to support her dream to conserve the environment.

The National Champion Scholarship program aims to prepare Indonesia’s future leaders by providing scholarships for students who currently are pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Tanoto Foundation has supported more than 2,400 students through the National Champion Scholarship program, many of whom have gone on to work with Asian Agri.

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