Announcing the Impact Hero 2023 Finalists

This year, our call for Impact Hero 2023 received 76 high-quality applicants from across the Asia-Pacific. This is the highest number in Earth Company history, and it surely did not make it any easier for us to narrow down the candidates. Yet, like each year, it is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling to meet amazing individuals and initiatives that aremaking our world a better place.

After a rigorous interview process, we have selected 9 distinguished individuals – each with his or her own riveting story. It is with great pleasure that we share with you the finalists for our Impact Hero 2023.

Meet this year’s Impact Hero Cohort

Have a read about our finalists – where they are making a difference, their life stories, and regenerative solutions – below!These 9 individuals have become part of our Impact Heroes Cohort – Class of 2023, who for the next 6 months be taking part in our Lead-to-Regenerate Changemaker program.

Expanding Our Support Contents!
Support Contents

1.  Lead-to-Regenerate(L2R) Changemakers Program

 

1.1 Online Sessions

These online sessions provide opportunities to learn the concept of “regeneration” as well as the skills and knowledge required to envision and realize the regenerative futures for the communities they serve.

1.2 Heroes Camp in Bali

A 4-day camp in Bali gathering all finalists to meet each other, the Earth Company team, as well as potential collaborators and supporters.

1.3 Regenerative Futures Summit 

Each finalist will present their vision of regenerative futures based on key takeaways from the online sessions. The summit invites impact investors, philanthropists, and other potential collaborators to hear and engage with each finalists’ vision.

 

2. Mentorship

Based on the needs identified during the L2R Program, we will connect the finalists with mentors from our network, who have expertise in the areas such as business development, impact investment, marketing, corporate law, leadership, etc.

 

3. Opportunity Building

Based on the needs shared by each finalist, Earth Company will try to introduce as many opportunities as possible whenever occasion arises within our network.

Important Notice

Starting this year, the process for selecting the Impact Hero winner has been modified and improved. Instead of selecting a winner at this point in time, we will choose the one  among the finalists who successfully complete  the six-month Lead-to-Regenerate Changemakers program. 

We will announce the Impact Hero winner at the end of June 2023.

The Earth Company team is confident that this change will bring positive outcomes for all those involved and has communicated the modified approach to each finalist. We look forward to announcing our new Impact Hero in late June!

* The support package to the winner will not change; we will support the Impact Hero over a three year period in a dedicated, comprehensive way.

Get to Know Our Impact Hero 2023 Finalists
Benny Santoso

Focus geography Indonesia
Organization Ini Tempe

Mission: Promoting tempe, a delicious plant-based superfood, from Indonesia to the world

Profile: Tempe is one of Indonesia’s staple foods made of fermented soybean and is a rich source of protein. However, the vast majority of soybeans used to make tempe is imported from China and genetically modified, which results in a lower nutritional value. At the same time, farmers in Indonesia, including soybean farmers, have low incomes, roughly averaging only US$ 120/month.

Benny has been working on developing tempe using domestically grown, non-genetically modified soybeans – which he has been studying since university. After graduating, Benny founded iniTempe, a social enterprise working with farmers in Bali and Java to cultivate soybeans and create nutritious Tempe products. Through iniTempe, he focuses on improving farmers’ income, in hopes of having tempe enjoyed around the world.

Cressida Kuala

Focus geography Papua New Guinea, Porgera
Organization Porgera Red Wara Women’s Association

Mission: To amplify the voices of indigenous women who have been displaced by the Porgera mine and experienced sexual violence at the hands of employees of the mine.

Profile: Cressida grew up in Porgera, a world-class gold mining area located in the center of Papua New Guinea. In this land monopolized by Canadian and Chinese mining companies, assaults and violence against local residents, especially women, by the mining companies are rampant, and numerous human rights violations have been reported. Her brother was also a victim of violence and murdered by a mining company employee. Cressida herself has been sexually assaulted multiple times.

 In response to these horrific experiences, Cressida established the Porgera Red Women’s Association in 2014 to protect the lives, heritage, and culture of the indigenous people, especially women who have become victims of sexual violence. She is a community leader of 5,000 women victims, and her organization works to raise awareness of the situation in the region to the world, advocate for change with governments and mining companies, and improve the lives of victims through education and job training.

Galuh Wandita

Focus geography Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Myanmar
Organization Asia Justice & Rights (AJAR)

Mission: To strengthen local actors fighting against impunity, building cultures based on accountability, justice, equality, willingness to learn from past violations.         

Profile: Galuh has worked on gender, peace, and conflict issues since the 1990s. Together with individuals from Timor Leste, she co-founded the country’s first NGO to support women victims of rape in Dili, in 1996. Since then, she has specialized in human rights issues, working at the international human rights NGO Oxfam and the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

In 2012, she returned to Indonesia and co-founded Asia Justice and Rights, and has continuously managed support programs in Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Myanmar, providing rehabilitation training for victims of human rights. Galuh continues to pursue change for peace and justice across the region and beyond.

Lastiana Yuliandari Utami

Focus geography Indonesia
Organization ALIET GREEN

Mission: To work with local farmers, especially women, to give them a chance to improve their incomes and climate resilience through value chain integration

Profile: After graduating from college, Lastiana started her career working in various international NGOs. Falling in love with the agro-forestry industry, and learning about the issues of poverty among farmers and women at the age of 23, she founded ALIET GREEN – a social enterprise aiming to empower women through agricultural business.

ALIET GREEN provides training in organic farming to smallholder farmers, buys their crops at above-market prices, and sells them to markets in the US and EU. ALIET GREEN partners with 1539 smallholder farmers, of which 96% are women and 1% are people with disabilities, with an aim of promoting gender equality and inclusivity in society through agriculture. 

Additionally, they are working to restore 500 hectares of land that had been degraded by erosion and landslides, through regenerative agriculture methods.

Oyungerel Tsedevdamba

Focus geography Mongolia
Organization Let’s Change Our Toilets

Mission: Breaking taboos about toilets and providing safe and secure toilets in Mongolia 

Profile:  Oyungerel grew up in a small rural town in Mongolia, which was strongly influenced by Soviet Union and communism. She studied economics at a university in Moscow, but following the collapse of the Soviet Union, she became an activist to expand democracy in Mongolia. She was a member of parliament from 2012 until16, serving under the Minister of Culture and Tourism.

In rural Mongolia, most toilets are located outside, unsanitary and dangerous places where children can fall into. In 2017, she launched the “Let’s Change Our Toilets” campaign to break a taboo on toilets in Mongolia and spread safe and secure toilets.

Pashtana Durrani 

Focus geography Afghanistan
Organization LEARN

Mission: LEARN Afghanistan is a non-profit dedicated to innovation in education, health, community resource building with a focus on women, girls and child rights advocacy.

Profile: Pashtana Durrani is an Afghan feminist, activist, and educator. At the age of 21, she became the head of her family following her father’s passing. By then she had already founded LEARN Afghanistan, the country’s first-ever digital school network.  Forced into exile by the Taliban takeover in 2021 she is currently a visiting fellow at Wellesley Centers for Women while continuing to provide education for hundreds of girls in Afghanistan despite the current ban on them attending school.

Sakdiyah Ma’Ruf

Focus geography Indonesia
Organization Our Voice: Comedy for Change

Mission: Rehabilitating the mind through comedy and helping women find their voice and fight violence against women

Profile:  Sakdiyah is known to be the first Muslim female comedian in Indonesia. Raised in a conservative Arab community, she experienced domestic violence as a child. For Sakdiyah, comedy helped her find comfort amidst her trauma. Realizing the trauma-relieving potential of humor, she launched the “One Voice: Comedy for Change” campaign to bring emotional rehabilitation through laughter and comedy to as many women as possible who have experienced the same things she did.

Believing that trauma can be overcome when women who share the same grief come together and can one day laugh with each other, Our Voice Comedy for Change offers workshops for rehabilitation to women living with trauma.

Vinzealhar Nen

Focus geography Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby

Organization Sustainable Ocean Alliance Papua New Guinea

Mission: Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) activates young people, develops and implements innovative solutions, and mobilizes an ocean workforce to restore the health of the ocean in our lifetime.      

Profile: After witnessing communities forcefully displaced due to rising sea levels on TV, Vinzealhar (Vinzy) decided to become an environmental activist – at the age of nine – with the sole purpose of helping those affected by such a disaster. For the past 17 years, she has continued to raise awareness and educate as many young people as possible to understand the significance, and act on, the issue of climate change.

Vinzy founded the Papua New Guinea chapter of Sustainable Ocean Alliance, which brings opportunities for young people in Papua New Guinea – known for low school attendance and literacy – to learn about climate change; forest and biodiversity conservation; and ocean wealth through traditional learning methods such as art, music, and sports.

Zeinorin Angkang

Focus geography  India, Manipur
Organization Hill Wild

Mission: To ensure food security, engage with farmers to generate better income with focus on regenerative sustainable agriculture, and protect indigenous seeds.

Profile:  Zeinorin is from the Tangkhul Naga tribe, an indigenous tribe in northeastern India that has been in armed conflict since World War II. Experiencing hunger and poverty as a child, she left her homeland in search of education and employment opportunities. She would return to her hometown at the age of 25 and founded Hill Wild after witnessing local farmers suffering from land degradation, poverty, and the effects of climate change.

Hill Wild works with minority tribes and indigenous communities to innovate their harvested crops into consumer-packaged superfoods. By using the community’s traditional farming methods – which have long been considered regenerative agriculture –  Zeinorin’s organization is restoring and promoting this method, in order to achieve prosperous development across the region, reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of the local farmers.