Indonesia – Australia synergy and collaboration to better gender equality and female empowerment

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(Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – “The Forward Indonesian Females for Poverty Mitigation (Maju Perempuan Indonesia untuk Penanggulangan Kemiskinan – “MAMPU”) is an Australian-Indonesian partnership for gender equality and female empowerment. As a joint initiative of the Australian Government (the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – “DFAT”) and the Indonesian Government (National Development  Planning  Agency  (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional – “Bappenas”), MAMPU supports the Indonesian Government’s efforts to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (Tujuan Pembangunan Berkelanjutan – “TPB”) by building up female leadership and empowerment. This will improve their access to important Government services and programs. MAMPU cooperates with 13 organizations, more than 100 local partners, and more than 3,500 local groups in 1,000 villages in 27 provinces in Indonesia, empowering more than 70,000 women in the process.

Kate Shanahan, MAMPU Team Leader, said that this year marks the end of the MAMPU program with many achievements and changes, whether at community, regional, or national level. It has brought many positive changes, many experiences and lessons that affect the capacity, voice, and influence of women, and provide  them  with  access  to  better Government services. “Since we first appeared 8 years ago, MAMPU has reached marginalized women in” grassroot levels by collaborating with the civil community organizations in the MAMPU partnership network. We move together to expand our partnership network and strengthen its capacity, connecting it with strategic stakeholders and policy makers. For MAMPU, female empowerment is both the objective and the means of achieving the objectives,” she said.

Women in Indonesia (especially the poor), are very much underdeveloped compared to their global peers, especially in economic participation and political empowerment. UNDP 2018 data shows that Indonesia is the 103rd out of the 162 countries listed in the Gender Inequality Index. Poor women do not have sufficient access and resources that would allow them to benefit from the Government’s various programs. MAMPU cooperates with its partner organization network to improve the access of poor women in Indonesia to the Government services and programs necessary for gender equality and female empowerment. The approach is to empower women at grassroot levels and help them earn better livelihoods.

MAMPU partners advocate changes by developing promising models and approaches that affect Government policies and budgets for women-related services. They are divided into five themes: Increased access to Government social protection programs, improved work conditions and elimination of workplace discrimination, improved conditions for our migrant women workers abroad, improved health status and nutrition for women, and reduced violence against women.

Kirsten Bishop, the Minister’s Counselor for Government and Human Development of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, reiterates that Australia is proud of its partnership with Indonesia in the MAMPU program for the past eight years. “We congratulate all MAMPU partners for their significant achievements. As the result of their efforts, MAMPU partners have created real differences in the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the country, and they will continue to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development in Indonesia. The Government of Australia is committed to continue our partnership with the Government Indonesia in order to improve gender equality and female empowerment in the future,” she said.

Within the 2012-2020 period, MAMPU program has recorded a number of significant achievements, including evidence that connects the work of MAMPU partners to 700 policies in local to national levels, which are directly related to seven out of the nine items in the MAMPU Collective Action Agenda. With MAMPU’s assistance, the partners have contributed to the validation of a new National Regulation that regulates protection for migrant workers and their families abroad, and they have also helped with the revision of the Marriage Law of 1974 so that child marriages are eliminated. Cumulatively, MAMPU has directly assisted 183,925 Indonesian citizens (143,291 women and 40,634 men) to gain access to various important services, including social security programs, reproductive health programs, and support for the victims and survivors of violence against women. Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik – “BPS”) census figures show that 2.8 million women who live in the 1,137 villages where MAMPU works gain indirect benefit from these achievements.

Woro Srihastuti Sulistyaningrum, the Bappenas Director of Family, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports Affairs, reiterates the importance of continuing the good practices brought in by the MAMPU program. “The MAMPU program has generated a lot of lessons and practices that we need to continue, that we need to synergize with various other existing programs on Central, Regional, and village levels. We need to expand the implementation of such lessons and practices too. We also need to push for policies and regulations that will ensure that these good lessons and practices are integrated into the existing system,” she said.

Woro further emphasizes the importance of strengthening multiparty coordination and partnerships. “We hope that MAMPU partners will continue the work of female empowerment, to continue implementing the various innovations that they have developed, and to expand the scope of their work. We further hope that MAMPU partners will continue to coordinate with and strengthen their partnership with village governments,

regional governments, and all other stakeholders in order to generate gender equality and female empowerment,” she said.

By closing its final activity this year, MAMPU urges that all levels of society band together to generate and improve gender equality and female empowerment in Indonesia. The good and innovative methods, approaches, knowledge, and practices that it has generated can continue and be expanded in order to allow all citizens to contribute to the achievement of the national development objectives, as expressed in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah National – “RPJMN”) and the TPB. (Dan)