15 Mar 2016

From Radio Broadcasting to Land Management

Yanti Magdalena Sihotang, Master in Urban Regional Planning, University of South Australia, 2007, has always been a bright scholar and continuously ranked top ten of her class. Yanti became one of two students who completed their program earlier than the rest of their undergraduate class with a Bachelor of Agriculture in Socio-Economic Agriculture from Universitas Tanjungpura in 2000.

Yanti's love for the field and passion to help others has taken her on an unusual – but no less exciting – career path. “I started my professional career with a stint as radio broadcaster,” Yanti chuckled. “In addition to carrying some light programs such as music, culture and general sciences, I was also in charge of the economic and environment programs geared toward adults. I loved it. I was able to impart what knowledge I had on a subject I loved to the community.”

Even when Yanti later accepted a position at a well-known Pontianak palm oil plantation company in 2002, she found the time to broadcast after hours.

Thirst for knowledge brought Yanti down another turn in her professional journey. In 2003, Yanti joined Badan Pertanahan Nasional, the National Land Agency, and during her early years at the agency, gained experience in land management. Yanti was in charge of conducting ground checks of existing land use, plotting areas for the land information map and above all, providing guidance on land utilization for the local community.

“It is here that I found the perfect marriage between my love for environmental policy and heart to assist others,” Yanti beamed.

Yanti now facilitates potential land inventory and raises community awareness on the importance of land legalization as Head of the Community Empowerment Section at the National Land Agency, West Kalimantan Regional Office.

“Farmers, fishermen, cooperatives as well as small and medium enterprise owners – they all would have greater chance of getting a loan or having legal standing if they carry land certification for the land they owned as collateral. Land certification also provides assistance in cases of dispute,” Yanti explained passionately.

She further explained that these land legalizations are carried out in conjunction with other key agencies. “It’s a cross-sector effort,” Yanti credited the other agencies. “The Ministry of Agriculture or Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, for example, would provide and screen the targeted demographic and the National Land Agency would provide the training and legal help.”

Yanti's position and responsibility requires extensive skills in analyzing data and problem solving, but Yanti is more than up for the challenge.

“I have my APS experience to thank for that,” Yanti grinned. “It is during my postgraduate studies in Australia that I acquired these precious skills.”

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