Jakarta, December 16, 2009 - Women’s participation in developing their villages through PNPM Mandiri is increased. Data from Directorate General of Community and Village Empowerment, Ministry of Home Affairs shows that almost 30% of the proposed programs in the village came from women’s initiatives. Meanwhile, only 14% were voiced out from both genders. Considering this numbers, women have made a huge contribution to the accomplishment of PNPM. However, women’s skill in fighting their own needs in development should be improved. Besides, patriarchy system that is commonly used in Indonesia is another challenge that we have to deal with.
This insight was taken from a talk show discussing “Suara Perempuan dalam Pembangunan Perdesaan” (Women Voices in Village Development) at Kedai Tempo on December 16th 2009. The speakers were Drs. Matheos Tan, MM from Directorate General of Community and Village Empowerment, Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr. Ir. Sulianti Agusni from the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Lia Andiani, beneficiary and the Head of Implementing Team (TPK) PNPM-Mandiri Rural from Cikondang Village, Cianjur District, West Java.
According to Matheos, for the last three years, the percentage of women’s participation in PNPM Mandiri has exceeded the target (40%). It reached 43% in 2006 and 49% in 2007 and 2008. The latest evaluation result notes that the percentage has increased to 59%.
Women are acknowledged of having more capability in identifying community needs that are frequently absent from men’s priority list. Those needs related to issues of health, education, revolving fund, clean water, and bridges for connecting villages. In addition to that, women are valued to be more neutral in selecting community needs for development.
Lia Andiani fully agreed with Matheos. As the beneficiary and Head of Implementing Team (TPK) in Cikondang Village, she shared her experiences when the group of women in her village succeeded to pass two out of three proposals to be funded by PNPM. The two programs were Kelompok Simpan Pinjam Perempuan (SPP) or revolving fund for women group and building a hanging bridge. “PNPM has given more opportunities for women to participate in the programs,” she explained. Previously, women’s from her village were already involved in various activities such as in PKK (Family Welfare Program), health post, and social gathering. “But PNPM has managed to focus our ideas,” Lia added.
When Lia started to be actively involved in the program and acted as the Head of Implementing Team (TPK), she had to deal with a lot of challenges. At first, many people doubted her capabilities in managing the development of some physical facilities. However, with the help from the facilitator in her village, she was finally able to accomplish her task successfully.
Matheos said that PNPM is designed to provide more opportunities for women to participate. Referring to one of PNPM principals that is democratization in village development, PNPM promotes gender equality and justice. “For example, in the planning stages, there is a special forum for women to discuss and decide their needs. Furthermore, 25% of BLM (Community Direct Assistance) provided to each sub-district, should be allocated for SPP (women revolving-fund program). Besides SPP, women still have right to voice out one more proposal in the public forum that is attended by both women and men,” said Matheos. “Also, empowerment cadres in the village should consist of one male and one female.”
Matheos added, the program design also requires that 30% of the facilitators and 25% of technical facilitators (engineering graduates) should be women. Unfortunately, according to Matheos, getting 25% of women with engineering degree is not an easy task. “Usually we only get 11-14%,” he said.
Matheos admitted, female facilitators are faster in understanding the needs expressed by women. “When we ran KRRP (Kecamatan Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Planning Project in Nias) where we help houses development for disaster victims in the island, decision of who will get the assistance is taken during the special forum for women,” he gave an example. “Women are valued for having better understanding about families’ need on housing and more neutral in making priority.”
To respond to this good fact, the government should put more effort to accommodate such huge potential. National Management Consultant of Rural PNPM-Mandiri, Ariza Agustina stated that patriarchy system in Indonesian culture could be one of the hindrances to maximize the women’s role. She also mentioned that to voice out their thoughts, women should develop their capacity.
“PNPM aims to encourage women to play their roles in public forums. Decision-making needs certain capacity. Sometimes, we already know what we want but we still struggle to voice it out, for example, we still need to find arguments to support it. Therefore, we should have that special skill. Well, PNPM educates women so that they have capability to participate in the decision-making process in their villages and sub-districts,” stated Ariza.
Lia Andiani admitted, it was not easy to motivate the women to be involved in decision-making process. At first, she needed to do personal approach to women groups and individuals in her village. “I usually approach group of pengajian (Al-Qur’an reading) and social gathering. Through these occasions, I inform them about PNPM, and encourage them to be more involved.” Their lack of self-confidence in voicing out their ideas is caused by their low-level of education (in average, they were not graduated from elementary school). However, because there is special forum for women, they use to practice in expressing their aspirations.
Lia exactly did what is suggested by Ariza. According to Ariza, the best way to motivate women is by doing personal approach to women’s groups, as the groups have power. From this point, we can create networks that will be useful for sharing information. “Ideally, when PNPM is not funded by the government anymore, women’s participation in development should be part of the culture or become community need,” said Ariza.
Dr. Ir. Sulianti Agusni from the Ministry of Women Empowerment confirmed that PNPM has encouraged community to understand that women have important roles in developing their communities. For this reason, the Ministry will strongly support gender mainstreaming in PNPM by coaching its facilitators so that they can be more sensitive to gender issues, and facilitate active participation from both men and women. “In the future, the Ministry’s policy will ensure that men and women receive the same benefit from the development,” she promised.
About PNPM Mandiri talk show
Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Masyarakat (PNPM - Mandiri) Radio talk show is intended to provide a forum to discuss PNPM issues. Talk shows that cover PNPM issues are conducted every third Wednesday in each month. Donors, civil society organizations, mass media, and general public are welcome to join the discussions that are held at Jl. Utan Kayu No 68H. The talk shows are lively broadcasted through 132 radio stations all over Indonesia.