The PRESTASI program, sponsored by USAID/Indonesia, provides scholarships and training to professionals in Indonesia and aims to develop a cadre of skilled leaders and managers who can cascade new knowledge and skills to several priority sectors in order to contribute to the development of Indonesia. One such professional was given a unique opportunity to immediately apply her knowledge and skills gained after completing a graduate degree in the United States. PRESTASI alumna Irma Martam graduated from The George Washington University with a Master of Public Health degree in December 2011. Within one year, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pulih Foundation, where she has made significant contributions to important health and gender issues in Indonesia.
Irma, a psychologist with a background in public health, began her work at the Pulih Foundation (Yayasan Pulih) in 2007. The Foundation, a women’s solidarity organization, was established in Indonesia in 2002 with the goal of offering psychological and psychosocial counseling for traumatized women, strengthening gender parity and raising gender awareness in local communities. Despite the strong goals and initial success of the Foundation, the organization lacked the guidance and structure needed to sustain growth and development. Irma, a general coordinator at the Foundation, identified these needs and decided to seek further education to help the organization achieve its goals.
In January 2010, Irma received a USAID scholarship to study public health at The George Washington University. For two years, Irma focused her studies on public health, communications and marketing. She graduated in December 2011 and returned to Indonesia with the training and skills necessary to disseminate her knowledge and strengthen the organization’s impact.
Upon her return, the Pulih Foundation appointed Irma to the Board of Directors and tasked her with spearheading a new strategic vision for the organization. Irma worked with board members and employers to develop fundraising strategies to realize the refined vision. Moreover, she took an active role in educating the community on the importance of gender parity. Since she joined the Board, the Foundation has come closer to achieving its goals by hosting training and recovery sessions for women, working with men to reverse perceptions of domestic violence, and introducing psychosocial recovery training for children and adolescents. Together with the Pulih Foundation, Irma continues to contribute to the improved physical and mental health of individuals and communities in Indonesia.
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