Sujana Royat: These empowered women are good assets
Sun, 06/14/2009 12:11 PM | People
Sujana Royat: JPJP
While Pekka's empowerment programs striving and flourishing, statistics still show that poverty rates remains high. In 2007, the government started an empowerment program called Mandiri Community Empowerment National Program (PNPM Mandiri)
The Jakarta Post talked to Deputy Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Sujana Royat, who also heads the executing team of Indonesia's largest community-driven development program, the PNPM Mandiri, to learn about the program. Below is an excerpt of the interview.
How does the government see the programs of Pekka?
The government supports the efforts to empower the vulnerable groups like the women who take the responsibility as heads of the family. People empowerment is one of the government's policies aimed at alleviating poverty. The other policy is the PNPM Mandiri.
The PNPM Mandiri is a government program focusing on community's capacity building. It prepares for people's basic empowerment.
For example, we look at com-munities hoping for life improvement, having supporting groups as well as the fund and the skills needed to make their dreams come true.
If the community members have good characters, skills and funding, they can work peacefully and improve their economy. These are what we building through the PNPM Mandiri. We can include people empowerment schemes, like Pekka, into our program.
Pekka programs are inline with government policies. We embed Pekka's empowerment programs on PNPM Mandiri sites. Of course, the communities can also make similar empowerment schemes.
How does the government support Pekka?
The government supports Pekka in terms of developing and replicating the programs in other regions. There are around 15 million women who head the family and have yet to get access to basic service and capital. Not to mention the trafficking victims that reach around 150,000. Pekka still has many things to do.
Women or widows heading households often receive harassment from other community members and the local leaders. The banking institutions even put them in the "high risk" category, meaning they are ineligible for credit.
Pekka and PNPM Mandiri teach the women to not expect help from other people. They should stand up and rely on their feet and use their own power to survive. And so far, the women had made it. The government will develop such surviving value to boost self-managed community empowerment schemes.
We also encourage local administrations to recognize Pekka. We want organizations like Pekka to voice their aspirations and hopes in city development planning meetings (Musrenbang). The executives and legislatives should listen to them. Then they should correct policies and programs to fit into Pekka's aspirations.
The government also encourages Pekka to cooperate with other stakeholders, such as business groups and civil society groups, so that their partnership and social network expand and prosper.
There is room for improvement though. For example, Pekka members should enter all levels. They should try to hold executive positions like village heads, council members, teachers etc. I'm sure they can do it because they have strong motivation, technical and managerial skill and mental toughness. Pekka members are good assets for the community and the nation. The local administration would have been very stupid to refuse to cooperate with Pekka.
Will the government continue supporting Pekka programs in the future?
We see Pekka as the partner of the PNPM Mandiri, so we will definitely support them. We will act as foster father, we support, protect and nurture. However, we don't intervene with or rule out what Pekka should do. We will maintain their independence so that they can grow strong and help others.
We will provide support on financing and capacity-building. We encourage donors to channel their aid to help Pekka and other similar schemes. We classify them as a non-government-driven PNPM.
We keep them in synergy with patron body PNPM Mandiri by establishing a body called PNPM Multi-donors Support Facility (PSF). PSF has 13 multi-donor and bilateral-donor institutions who give their grant for PNPM members. Donors who give more than US$ 1 million will be put as steering committee members. The body is chaired by Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare and its daily management is run by National Development Planning Board (Bappenas).
The PSF has a unit called Window 3 that supports communities/CSO to run PNPM schemes. We want the community to own and run their own PNPM.
What kind of regulation that can boost the performance of Pekka?
On regulations, we need laws to ensure the sustainability of people empowerment programs, like the PNPM and Pekka. We have submitted a draft of such law to the House of Representatives through the State Ministry for Administration Reform. But it seems the legislative body has yet to put it in the priority list.
The people empowerment programs are the ways to better, independent Indonesia. If we make the empowerment program a collective movement, we can overcome the poverty, unemployment and other social problems.
- Tifa Asrianti