Global Reach: Grantee Partners

ROLE Foundation


There are over 65 million young people in Indonesia age 10-24, (WHO 2017), which represents around 24% of the total population. The World Bank (2019) latest value for youth (ages 15-24) unemployment rate for Indonesia is at 16.15%. An estimated 2.7 million children are involved in some form of child labor in Indonesia, and around half of them are under 13 (UNICEF 2017). Despite the high levels of regional and international investment in Bali’s tourism sector, many of its residents do not benefit from this development and fall through the cracks of the island’s tourism driven economy. Poor and less educated girls and young women are particularly disadvantaged for a number of reasons. Poverty is a main driver. In poor families, parents tend to favor the male child to access education when funds are insufficient to send all children to school. Rural women in Bali or neighboring islands, have limited access to employment outside of their households or villages. They often have lower literacy rates compared to their rural male counterparts and urban female/male counterparts. As a result, they cannot access the job opportunities in the flourishing tourism industry of Bali. This is supported by statistics of the Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) (Indonesian Statistics Bureau): in the Regency of Denpasar, the literacy rate of men is 99.45% while that of women is 96.37%. However, in the much less affluent Regency of Karangasem, the literacy rate of men is 89.18% while that of women is only 69.23%. In an analysis of the labor force by gender, the BPS report shows that the labor force is comprised at 83.88% and at only 66.83% by women in both regencies. As a result, women in these communities or rural women in general, make up a disproportionate percentage of the unskilled labor force due to the lack of education and training.


The ROLE Foundation (Rivers, Oceans, Land and Ecology) was established in 2007 as an environmental learning and conservation project and is the only environmental learning centre in Bali. Local school children visit the centre, where they learn about sustainable waste management and recycling, reforestation, permaculture, organic gardening and marine conservation. By targeting school age children, the Foundation hopes to change the behavior of the next generation and highlight the importance of environment stewardship. In 2011, ROLE started a new programme which focused on women’s economic empowerment. The BaliWISE programme aims to lift young women out of poverty by providing them with vocational skills training in the hospitality sector and life skills development, and connecting them to 4 & 5 star hotels in Bali to secure decent paid employment for them.

Current Grant:

EMpower's 6th grant to ROLE Foundation, BaliWISE program (ROLE) is supporting 160 marginalised young women 15 to 19 years old during the two years of the grant to access vocational skills in hospitality and life skills training coupled with an internship/ on-the-job training phase creating a pathway to formal and skilled employment. Furthermore, the team is setting up and piloting a new training offer in digital marketing. Although hospitality is the world’s largest industry and the dominant industry in Bali, it is also one of the most volatile industries. This became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic when the sector essentially shut down. Beyond, at the organisational level, ROLE is investing in institutional strengthening, mainly to enhance the financial sustainability of the organisation.

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