–How did you get to know very50?
I was introduced to the very50 by Ms. Sandra Winarsa, the British Council Indonesia staff in early May, 2012. With that introduction, I made an appointment with Ryosuke Sugaya to talk in Jakarta when he finished a MoG project in Bogor with Greena. At the first meeting, we talked a lot about very50 and my current social activities. I was surprised and very proud with those youth Japanese MoG members in running their activities to improve social enterprises in all around the world. After we pursued a meeting, in next couple days, very50 visited our social project site. During the visit, we presented about our programs, mission, vision, and next improvement planning in our foundation. very50 not only visited our project location, but also several people houses to get input and review based on our social activities.
–Why did you decide to work with very50 through the MoG program?
Immediately after we discussed our organization plan and program, Ryosuke decided to run a MoG project in our community in August, 2012. I was shocked and confused because we did not have a comfortable house for 12 foreign guests and we never run international collaboration activities in our village. Moreover, on that time, I did not understand comprehensively about MoG projects and the purpose of this activity. In my perspective, I just believed that some group of people would give me a lot of ideas to improve my social activities so that I could help our people in a better way with our program improvement.
–What does a typical day look like during the MoG project?
When we decided to run a MoG project, I believed that the biggest challenge would be a language barrier between our members (our team and local people) with Japanese members. For this reason, we made a selection procedure for several Indonesian university students who are resident of Garut (our city). There were a lot of applications but our key requirement was the English capability of each person. We could get five Indonesian students with good capacity and understanding about local people. Our purpose for this group is not only to help us in running MoG as translator, but also to promote ideas sharing between Japanese and Indonesia youth members, and it worked!!
I really enjoyed to work during the MoG programs (2012 and 2013), because we could share a lot of ideas and knowledge not only from Japanese but also from our side. Moreover, most of MoG members loved the beautiful scenery of Garut and they really loved Garut food which was cooked by my wife, Eva.
–What is the biggest change during MoG project?
All of my people in my village really appreciated Japanese MoG members spirit especially for their commitment to run MoG projects. An example is that they woke up in 5am just to see the daily activities of Genteng Healthy Market, because our market started from 4am and the peak hour is from 5am to 7am.
I appreciated MoG members for their ideas and their analytical capacity to improve Genteng Healthy Market. They tried to look and evaluate every aspect and problems in our program and propose a lot of ideas and suggestion to our organization. We had no break time and dozens of meetings in every single day.
–Do you keep in touch with the MoG members after the MoG program has ended? If so, how do you interact?
Sure. Even after the project, we are still keeping in touch. We keep following each other’s activities and share our own works through Facebook and Skype even though it’s not too much because all of us have to get back to our daily lives. If any MoGer members come to Vietnam one day, I can make sure that I will be of help for them. They are also waiting for me in Japan!
I still continue to communicate with the MoG members via SNS. I was very surprised by the Ryosuke visit when my father passed away last March. This visit not only touched my hearth but also gave me spirit to continue the struggle for our social activities with very50’s assistance. In addition, I plan to go to Japan to learn and visit traditional market in Japan. We want to see directly the management and situation of traditional market in Japan. During the MoG project, we have talked a lot about the comparison between traditional market in Indonesia and Japan. We plan that during my visit to Japan, I will stay in several houses of MoG members and some of them will be my guides in visiting several places in Japan.
–What kind of issues did you and MoG members focus on during MoG project?
Genteng Healthy Market pursued MoG project in August 2012 and July 2013. During both of the MoG projects, we together focused on three aspects of our project, (1) sanitation, (2) marketing, (3) shop management. Those three issues are the basic problem in our organization because we empower local people without business knowledge. Moreover, most of our people are not educated with very limited formal education. For this reason, MoG is very important to help us to make our problem maps and try to find the best solutions to every obstacle, problem and social issue in our organization. On the other hand, the capacity of MoG member in running survey is very valuable input for our organization because we can evaluate our work based on real findings.
–What was the output that the MoG program created for your business?
During MoG 2012, we could produce several new improvement programs in Genteng Healthy Market, in marketing, sanitation, and shop management. One of the examples is the separation of toilet for male and female (this is new for traditional market in Indonesia). Furthermore, the MoG members gave us a lot of program suggestions to be applied after the MoG period. One of the examples is “Music Concert” as our promotion tools. We ran this program in June 2013, and more than 2000 people from surrounding areas visited this concert. It was very successful to attract a lot of people to come to our market. Currently, our organization is running several programs based on suggestions from the MoG 2013. We have a lot of input and we will try to apply those ideas to Genteng Healthy Market.
–How has very50 supported your activities in addition to the MoG program?
MoG is very fantastic activities in assisting our organization. We have our daily activities with very tight schedule. That’s why it is hard to us to evaluate ourselves and find input for improvement. MoG project. They can evaluate our social activities comprehensively and see our organization not just from our side but also from other angles, which never have done before. For this reason, MoG is likely to give unexpected suggestion and ideas in improving our organization. MoG is also a good way to challenge our organization plan. The discussion and meeting is very comfortable for us to share our issue, problems, and next programs. MoG members are very honest and straightforward to evaluate and give their best effort to help our organization.
–Please tell us your vision for the future. (what is your next step!?)
Genteng Healthy Market is one of our programs in improving economic conditions of the people at Cilawu district, in Garut City, West Java, Indonesia. We plan to make our capacity bigger and bigger with new shop development, personnel capacity improvement training and more local entrepreneurs to joint with our activities. On the other hand, we also want to connect our education bodies (our school) to make good cooperation with our traditional market to empower poor student in our 6 schools.