From Vocational Schools to Womenpreneurs

Gracia Billy Mambrasar is the founder and CEO of Kitong Bisa Foundation as well as a Project Social and Papua Content Specialist for BP, Indonesia. Billy is passionate about creating business opportunities for women who live in remote resource communities. He is an Australia Awards alumnus with a Masters in Business Administration from ANU 2015 and attended the Transformational Business Leaders 2017 short course amongst his many distinguished education accolades.

Unemployment is a chronic issue in Indonesia with more women unemployed than men which is exacerbated in remote areas like West Papua that despite having multinational mining, oil and gas companies, still has major unemployment. West Papua is one of the least developed provinces of Indonesia's 34 provinces, only ranking above the neighbouring province, Papua. The Indonesian government has attempted to address unemployment by investing in vocational schools to develop a skills ready workforce. However evidence suggests that work competencies are not the problem but the lack of available jobs, with women less likely to secure jobs because of the perception of the physical demands of working in the extractive industry. 

To address this, Kitong Basi, a social enterprise that Billy founded, has been equipping female vocational graduates with entrepreneurial skills so that they can supply food, crafts and other goods to local companies. They have established learning centres close to industry where women attend bootcamps on business skills, learn how to access funding and connect with industry. Billy leverages his role as local content specialist with BP, one of the major oil and gas companies operating in West Papua, to influence contractors and subcontractors to maximally absorb local goods. Through his efforts, thirty six percent of BP’s food supply is sourced from indigenous Papuan businesses.

With funding from the Australian government in 2017, Kitong Basi trained 200 women and has recently received a grant from University of Melbourne to train 200 students at a vocational school. Since their establishment in 2009, with the support of a number of organisations including American Councils, they have trained over 500 female students and established 4 learning centres.

I think my great success is making the industry, especially the high tech industry such as oil and gas company to believe that the local suppliers, especially female can also be supplying high quality products.

Billy hopes “to make [the] Foundation an international organization, and wants to achieve: 1 million women trained as business women.”




27th March 2019

Wow, this is amazing! I remember Gracia Billy Mambrasar of Kitong Bisa Foundation was supposed to be among the speakers in my Session on Empowering Women Entrepreneurs during the Asia-Pacific Alumni Forum 13th and 14th August in Lae, Papua New Guinea last year. He sent Khoirun Nisa’Sri Mumpuni instead due to conflict in schedule. I am glad he is here with us in our advocacy on empowering women in mining...

Recent spotlights

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28 August 2019 - 6:20pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


Firefighters Protected Mongolia

10 July 2019 - 12:16pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


Launch of Women in Mining and Energy Indonesia

7 March 2019 - 7:54am | Muza Gondwe | Australia


Digging for gold - Guyana Artisanal Mining Symposium

1 August 2018 - 11:42pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


Alleviating the impact of acid mine drainage in Indonesia

16 March 2018 - 4:52pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


M4DLink Women in Resources Mentoring Program Launch

5 March 2018 - 12:50pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


ICSD challenged me to think of the unimagined!

30 October 2017 - 10:26pm | Muza Gondwe | Australia


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