The Indonesian government has recognized a national Catholic women's organization with an award for its efforts in promoting and preserving diversity in society. The Catholic Women of the Republic of Indonesia
(WKRI) received the 2018 Best Mass Organization Award on Nov. 6 in the category of Long-Life Achievements for its contribution to the protection of national sovereignty through works in different fields, such as health, education, culture and the environment. Established in June 1924, the WKRI is an independent social organization committed to working for the sake of people's welfare and human dignity. It currently has about 90,000 members. It was among 15 mass organizations honored this year at an annual awards ceremony in Jakarta by the Home Affairs Ministry. Other winners included GP Ansor — the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama
— and Central Executive Board of Muhammadiyah. Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah are the largest Muslim organizations in the country, respectively. "The role of a mass organization is to contribute to national development, protect national unity, strengthen (the national ideology of) Pancasila
, and the maintain diversity," Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said at the ceremony. Pancasila
(five principles) stipulates belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all citizens. "This award should encourage other mass organizations to do better and for recipients to work with other organizations in upholding unity through diversity," he said, quoting the national motto. WKRI head, Justina Rostiawati, called the award "an acknowledgement" of all the work, which have been done by the group since its establishment nearly a century ago. "The WKRI has conducted so many interfaith programs such as women empowerment, economic welfare and financial literacy. Our target is indeed grassroots communities from different religious backgrounds," she told ucanews.com. In Jakarta, the WKRI has been conducting a program aimed at preserving diversity in grassroots communities. "For instance, we make use of empty land by planting vegetables together with women from different religious backgrounds," she said. A similar program has been initiated by members in the predominantly Catholic province of East Nusa Tenggara in cooperation with local government, she added. "We are also running a 'School for Women' scheme in cooperation with the Constitutional Court. The purpose is to make more people, particularly women, realize their constitutional rights," Rostiawati said.
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Future projects will look at ways of countering graft, terrorism and environmental destruction, she added. "In accordance with Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si'
, we want to protect our common home," she said. She said the award would lift the spirits of the group's members to do more in this regard and for the sake of society.