Tanoto Foundation’s Support for Improving the “Hardware” and “Software” of Educational Development in Indonesia

Universitas Bhayangkara Jaya was the center of an event that marked a milestone in Indonesia’s

educational development, as the Tanoto Foundation launched the Grha Tanoto and the Tanoto

Library – two important buildings designed for enhancing the educational resources and capabilities

of local students.

Imelda Tanoto, daughter of well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist and Chairman of the RGE

Group, Sukanto Tanoto, was also present at the event, and spoke to outline the principles on which

the Tanoto Foundation has based its efforts of improving education in the area, as well as the goals

it hopes to achieve through these new establishments.

The Hardware of Educational

Imelda Tanoto has outlined the extreme importance of education that Sukanto Tanoto and the

Tanoto Foundation consider to be one of the major factors in poverty alleviation. As Ms. Tanoto has

stated, communities where children and students have better access to educational resources and

where there are better possibilities to obtain higher education, have a far improved chance of their

younger members reaching adulthood with an opportunity of improving their lives, incomes and


As Imelda Tanoto has stated, through the building of new facilities such as the Grha Tanoto and the

Tanoto Library, the Tanoto Foundation hopes to obtain an enhancement in educational development

by “upgrading its hardware.” This basically means that students will have access to a secure and

resourceful learning centers in which they can improve and further their studies.

A good example is the Library, which not only provides access through the Grha Tanoto to

classrooms and auditoriums, where students can truly have an improved educational experience, but

also with access to countless international journals for improved learning and an advanced radio

frequency-based system for keeping the library secured and well-organized.

Improved Support for Students and Teachers

If the “hardware” part is represented by the actual learning facilities themselves, the “software” is

the ability of the teachers to impart knowledge and assist students through an engaging and

informative curriculum that can help them pave a better path toward higher education.

Imelda Tanoto talked about the vital importance of helping teachers refine their skills and employ

better techniques at improving their ability to reach out to students. This is one of the major goals

that the Tanoto Foundation has pursued in the past few years, mainly through teacher training

programs designed to improve the quality of education in Indonesia.

Another important method the Foundation has used has to do with the scholarships they have

awarded to 28 universities throughout Indonesia. Their number has increased beyond 5,000 and

continues to grow each year, as the Foundation’s supporters and members like Imelda Tanoto

continue to pursue the goals that visionary Sukanto Tanoto has outlined through his philosophy of

assisting the community by improving education.


Apical and Asian Agri Join to Help Smallholder Farmers Reach Improved Results

On May the 13th, at the second Singapore Dialogue of Sustainable World Resources, the main theme was “Commodities Outlook: Impact on Falling Prices” and four expert panelists were invited to talk about the impact of global commodity prices on the local plantation industry in Asia.

Among them were the president of Apical Group, Dato Yeo How, and the CEO of Idofood Agri Resources Ltd, Mark Wakefold.

The main highlight of the meeting was an introduction to a newfound partnership between Asian Agri and Apical Group, through a project that promises a 50% increase in the yields obtained by local smallholder farmers in the palm oil industry.

A Brand New Initiative from Asian Agri and Apical The two corporations have announced that they will be working together to distribute a new generation of oil palm seedlings that is expected to substantially increase yields, once smallholders replant their aging palm trees.

Asian Agri and Apical are two of the most important companies in the Indonesian palm oil industry, the latter being one of the largest exporters of palm oil in Indonesia, while the former is the main corporation that handles a large part of the natural palm oil resources throughout the entire country.

Dato Yeo has characterized this move as being one of the most vital initiatives for improving cost efficiency and productivity in the wake of diminishing international commodity prices. He maintains that the situation calls for an increased focus on improving yields in the areas where plantations already exist, rather than trying to expand planting efforts to a larger region.

This decision is considered to be a step forward towards better sustainability, particularly because Indonesia is a growing industrial country and the palm oil industry faces significant challenges, such as labor shortages and increased costs.

The New Generation Oil Palm Seedlings. The proposal for distributing a new generation of oil palm seedlings has been received with great interest at the Singapore Dialogue, particularly due to the remarkable potential for greater yields and increased profits.

Basically, we are looking at a widely increased level of land productivity in the next few years and the potential for a 200% increase in profits – owed largely to the years of research and development done by the Asian Agri Research Institute. The seedlings are to be planted in the place of older, aging palm trees, thus maintaining the possibility for a large enough harvest during the transition period,and the promise of a massive increase in yields for the next few years.

Asian Agri and Apical are both confident that this bold new move is a step in the right direction and it will continue to provide a foundation for expansion for the local palm oil industry.

Anderson Tanoto’s Views on WEF East Asia and Future Progress in Indonesia

RGE Director Anderson Tanoto has recently been interviewed by CNBC to talk about the improving perspectives on future progress in Indonesia, as outlined at the recent World Economic Forum.

Taking a positive approach towards the current state of the country’s infrastructure, economy and efforts for attracting foreign continuously expanding local communities, Mr. Tanoto has emphasized the goals the country has already achieved, while talking about future plans for industry expansion.


Improved Infrastructure

One of the most important aspects that relate to both the well-being of the people in the area and the smooth operation of potential investors has to do with infrastructural growth.

The local government has been successful in putting into motion certain elements of growth, culminating with their vision of 35,000MW in terms of electricity production in the next few years. Mr. Tanoto has also pointed out that the RGE Group and their partners in the industry sector have already managed to build more than 3,000 km of roads in rural areas, where new and improved roads are extremely important.

He also stated that, while the prospect of building thousands of kilometers of roads and improving the electric grid can seem difficult at first, only the first steps are actually a problem. Sustainable infrastructural progress, however, backed by both industry and government leaders, have the possibility to turn these visions into reality within the next 3-7 years.


The Political Agenda in Indonesia

When it comes to politics, the WEF has proven that the Indonesian government and President Jokowi have the best intention for the country’s future growth, both in terms of building better infrastructure and addressing all the other challenges that people are facing today.

According to Anderson Tanoto, the situation is actually much more promising than most people would admit; as he has stated during the interview, “the politics in Indonesia have to be seen from the ground up.” Despite challenges related to the economy and infrastructure, confidence in the area is quite high and strong changes are expected, as many of the political figures currently in the government are younger individuals in their 30s and 40s.

The first concrete proof of the remarkable potential of the country is expected to be realized in just a few years, as the Indonesian economy holds strong and the government is willing to set changes in place that will set in motion the initiative for reaching the necessary sustainable goals.


Commodities and the Economy

Mr. Tanoto has emphasized the fact that any temporary setbacks when it comes to commodities and the local economy need to be viewed as cyclical and that potential investors will gain far more by looking at the overall picture for the next 3 years.

Also, while the currency is fluctuating, risk management plans are in place, as groups like RGE have a powerful strategy for managing loans in both domestic and foreign currencies; the company also has strong treasury teams operating in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong.

As Anderson Tanoto finally pointed out, the demographics and macro-economic environment in Indonesia show a promising future and prospects are quite high for the next few years.

New Educational Program for Teachers Facilitated by the Tanoto Foundation

Partners of the Tanoto Foundation are often able to benefit from engaging new activities, events and initiatives that are geared toward bringing about remarkable improvements in the community.

One such initiative was the training program founded by the Tanoto Foundation in Jambi. Through its help, teachers from the foundation’s partner schools were able to gather and work on engaging projects designed to improve creative problem solving and share ideas for the purpose of enhancing the educational process.


A Whole New Approach to Improving Education

Like in many other parts of the world, Indonesia is constantly striving towards improving its educational system. With resources often not enough to reach everyone, however, many schools remain lacking of the support they need for facilitating the kinds of conditions necessary for the educational process to thrive.

Sukanto Tanoto strongly believes that education is the key to ending poverty, by providing children with the means to paving their own successful paths in life. Through the new initiative set forth by the Tanoto Foundation, this goal is being brought closer to reality with an engaging training program targeting teachers from schools in the Jambi region.

Participants were grouped together in clusters according to the locations they came from and allowed to take part in engaging courses and activities designed to spark creativity and enhance problem solving skills. Cluster 1 was reserved for teachers from schools in the Kebun Taman Raja and Kebun Muara Bulian areas. Cluster 2 consisted of participants from Kebun Bungo Tebo and Kabun Tungkal Ulu.

The training program serves both a short term goal to help improve the schools’ agendas and a long term strategy for enhancing the progress made by schools throughout the Jambi province.

After 5 years, the results obtained through the sustained application of the program will be analyzed to evaluate the success that Tanoto Foundation schools are able to gain through such endeavors.


What the Program Entailed

The program itself proved to be a remarkable success and had teachers from all around the region arrive to engage in the fun, exciting and highly instructional problem solving activities organized as part of the training schedule.

Exercises that are similar to games were used to encourage participants to interact and share ideas about how to solve certain problems as efficiently as possible, while also creating a light and fun atmosphere leading to cognitive and creative growth. Teachers worked together as teams, each getting their turn to solve various problems and share opinions about how they have managed to overcome various educational challenges in their respective schools.

Based on Sukanto Tanoto‘s philosophy that businesses and organizations need to strive to do their best in order to improve not only their own success, but that of their communities and countries, these training programs are part of a bigger plan.

Philanthropic foundations such as the Tanoto Foundation hope to use these types of initiatives to assist Indonesia in fighting poverty, creating better opportunities for teachers, children and young individuals, and eliminating the social, economic and infrastructural challenges that the country is coping with today.

RGE Achievements in Kerinci – A Small Town Reborn in Record Time

Not many people have heard of the small town of Pangkalan Kerinci – commonly known as Kerinci. This community of about 100,000 inhabitants is, however, a true gold mine for the pulp and paper industry, providing the world with more than 800,000 tons of paper and 2.8 million tons of pulp each year.

Considered the nerve center of the RGE (Royal Golden Eagle) Group’s main operations in the industry, coordinated by chairman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto, Kerinci is regarded today as one of the most striking examples of how industry leaders, the government and local communities can work together to boost the infrastructure and economy of an entire city.


Remarkable Growth in Less Than 25 Years

Before the RGE arrived in Kerinci, the town was a more or less forgotten area with only 200 dwellings, no reliable roads, and a bleak prospect for locals to make money solely from fishing or engaging in illegal logging.

25 years later, however, the town is an example of prosperity, with more than 11,000 km of new roads being laid in the area, a local power plant working mainly on sustainable resources that can produce in excess of 530 MW of power, and even a small airport, as well as two shipping ports, used for transporting the pulp and paper produced in Kerinci to various locations worldwide.

Made possible by the integrative philosophy of Sukanto Tanoto‘s RGE group, working together with the local community to continually boost both the company’s pulp and paper production and the prosperity of the local population, these incredible progresses are a testament to how the corporate group’s approach to business growth can be used for achieving success.


New Opportunities for Smallholder Farmers

Another important area in which the RGE group operates – and which has probably impacted the lives of the local population in Kerinci more than anything els – is represented by the palm oil operations engaged by Asian Agri (one of the Group’s most important members).

Asian Agri has worked closely during the past two decades with the Kerinci community to manage thousands of hectares of plantation and provide high quality palm oil to the world.

In turn, local workers have gained the opportunity to become smallholder farmers and have been provided with remarkable opportunities for growing their own businesses and increasing their levels of prosperity to the point that they managed to buy new homes and secure their children’s future.


Sustainable Advancements

Sustainable forest management policies and the remarkable guidance of RGE have boosted operations in the Kerinci area considerably.

More recently, the RGE Technology Center has also become involved in the work through research and sustainable development geared for producing natural predators to suppress pests and gain higher yields for production. Planting experts have managed to optimize reforestation, and carefully prepare eucalyptus and acacia leaf cuttings to be planted in the plantations.

Together with a policy designed to balance environmental, economic and workforce-related factors, the many advancements brought to Kerinci are expected to lead to even higher success for the group and for the local community during the next 10 years

Fighting Fire with Film: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Uses Innovative Approach to Cultivating a Fire Free Community

The Remarkable Benefits of Healthcare Initiatives Facilitated by the Tanoto Foundation

Through its most recent philanthropic endeavor, the Tanoto Foundation has partnered up with RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper) – one of the foundation’s corporate partners also linked to well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto – to create new opportunities for improved healthcare in the Gunung Sari village in Riau.

The program sought to train medical cadres in the area, and achieved great success throughout the community, reflecting once more on the RGE Group and the Tanoto Foundation’s concern for the community.


Training for Healthcare Personnel

The main goal of the program was to provide quality, professional training for local medical staff, while also providing the community with assistance geared toward facilitating simple, routine activities for helping people living around the operational areas of PT. RAPP.

All assistance was provided through a health clinic located in Gunung Sahilan, and one of the major activities had to do with assisting mothers in receiving health support – as part of a larger initiative towards helping to decrease the numbers of child, infant and childbirth deaths in rural areas like the Gunung Sari village.

As an additional bonus, the program also brought numerous benefits geared toward improving the community’s well-being. Food packages were provided for families in need, and services such as free circumcision were also on the agenda, ensuring that disadvantaged families could still benefit from them.


Community Response

The community responded in an extremely positive manner to this remarkable gesture made by the two organizations that helped them realize there are still people out there who actually care about making a difference and fighting poverty. Local members of the community have expressed gratitude and great admiration for both RAPP and the Tanoto Foundation, while also pointing out many of the other advantages that these institutions have brought over time.

Aside from this health program, others have also been facilitated in the past. What’s more, the area has enjoyed quite a lot of attention from the Tanoto Foundation and from PT. RAPP, through projects for improving education and granting scholarships to local children, as well as support for infrastructural development.

The head of the clinic at Gunung Sahilan was also extremely supportive of the endeavor and voiced her hope that further assistance can be given in the long run through continual support and clinical training, so that the children in the area can receive better treatment in the following weeks, months and years.


Long Term Goals and Plans

This type of training program is part of a constant initiative that Sukanto Tanoto and the Tanoto Foundation are hoping to increase over the next few years. Although the mortality rates and health risks in Indonesian rural areas have subsided over the past few decades, they are still alarmingly high, and the fact that a large portion of the country’s inhabitants are still living below the national poverty line is definitely not an encouraging fact.

Nevertheless, due to efforts such as these growing in number, there is quite a lot of hope that the situation in areas like the Gunung Sari village can drastically improve in the next few years.