In the high conflict area of West Papua, where political tension and repression loom large, one woman stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment. Her name is Rosa Moiwend, a fearless women human rights activist and defender who has dedicated her life to fighting for justice, equality, and freedom in her homeland.

Rosa’s journey began during her university days, where she was initially studying forestry. But the harsh realities of West Papua’s struggles compelled her to shift her focus towards human rights advocacy. She realized that the people of West Papua were facing not only environmental challenges, but also grave injustices perpetrated by an oppressive regime.

As Rosa delved deeper into her work, she discovered the essential role women played in the front lines of activism. Many women were bravely standing up for human rights, often risking their lives in the process. This realization ignited Rosa’s passion for feminist activism, driving her to work tirelessly to empower women and amplify their voices.

One of the main challenges Rosa faced was the underrepresentation of women in strategic decision-making processes. While women were on the front lines, they were often excluded from shaping the direction of the movement. Rosa was determined to change this narrative. She firmly believed that women were equally capable of contributing to the strategic planning of their struggle.

Overcoming stereotypes that portrayed women as lacking strategic thinking, Rosa began to challenge the male-dominated leadership. She advocated for women’s inclusion in decision-making, emphasizing that women could excel in strategic roles just as men could. Her efforts aimed to break the misconception that strategic work was solely the domain of men.

Rosa’s work extended beyond the borders of West Papua. She sought to raise global awareness about the human rights violations and political issues plaguing her homeland. Rosa understood that solidarity was crucial in their fight for freedom. She built connections with feminist networks and other human rights organizations, forging alliances that would support West Papua’s cause on a global scale.

Rosa’s determination and passion were inspired by a simple yet powerful belief:

“We cannot liberate the nation if we do not liberate women because women are the key part of our nation.”

She tirelessly worked to ensure that women had an equal seat at the table and a voice in shaping West Papua’s future.

 

Despite the challenges and risks, Rosa Moiwend continued her tireless efforts. She dreamed of a West Papua where justice prevailed, where women’s rights were upheld, and where the struggles of her people were acknowledged on a global stage. Rosa’s journey was not just about herself; it was about the impact she could make alongside other activists and defenders, creating a better future for West Papua and its people.

Rosa, a valued member of the Pacific Feminist Community of Practice since 2021, embodies the spirit of regional feminist movements that strive to elevate the voices and experiences of women. In 2019, she took a bold step by founding the Kewita Learnings Initiative. This organization has become a bastion of feminist empowerment, a platform where grassroots women can find their voice and amplify it. Rosa’s journey is driven by a powerful goal: to host a national women’s gathering in West Papua, where pressing issues, often overlooked, can be openly discussed.

Kewita, Rosa’s small but impactful organization, operates both online and offline, utilizing platforms like Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and amplify their message of feminist empowerment. Her journey is fuelled by a profound appreciation for the concept of a civic community feminist community of practice, recognizing that true feminism is not just an idea but a way of life that must be shared and practiced daily.

Rosa’s experience within the Pacific Feminist Community of Practice has been transformative. She has harnessed the power of intersectionality, using it as a lens to frame the unique challenges faced by women and youth in West Papua’s political struggle. Through regular discussions and the application of feminist concepts, she is breaking barriers and fostering a sense of unity among diverse voices.

Yet, Rosa acknowledges the challenges faced by her friends and network members who are eager to participate but struggle with language barriers. Nonetheless, her determination and dedication continue to inspire, proving that in the pursuit of feminist solidarity and empowerment, barriers can be overcome, and voices can be heard.

Rosa Moiwend’s story is a testament to the power of unwavering determination, the importance of feminist perspectives in political struggles, and the need for global solidarity. In a land where the struggle for independence and human rights persists, Rosa’s relentless spirit serves as a guiding light, leading the way towards a brighter and more just future for West Papua and its resilient people.