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Raising Her Voice Indonesia Program

“Indonesian Women and Their Hopes”

Raising Her Voice Indonesia hold a women’s gathering with the participation of various women’s groups from Aceh, Jakarta, East Java and Papua last week in Jakarta. The women shared their dreams and hopes on Indonesian women’s lives. This gathering is part of a three days national event of RHV Indonesia including art performances and cultural speech that were held between 9 to 11 March 2011. The women also met officials from Ministry of Women Empowerment, and this event runs in parallel with many civil society activities to commemorate the International Woman’s Day.

Women are still facing many challenges and discrimination in their daily lives and when they are exercising their rights despite the official recognition of their rights in laws and regulations. Until now, public budgets from village to national level do not yet reflect women’s interests.

“We face similar problems. For years we have not been able to attend village meetings because men say that ‘women shouldn’t be involved in the meeting and decision-making process.’ Most of the meetings are also held in the evening, preventing us from attending,” said Siti Suryani, a mother of two sons who has been attending RHV supported program for almost two years.

Agnes Kayama, another participant shares similar tone that women have been neglected in the decision-making process for years in her village in Papua.

“Before our participation in RHV programme, we didn’t know there has been a special allocation for women in village’s budget,” said Ms Kayama who has been also as public health volunteer in her home village, Kegauda, for 19 years.

Through the support provided to local authorities in Aceh and Papua, accompanied by capacity building activities for district officials, community leaders, and women’s groups, there have been small step changes that pave the way for future benefits for women in the districts.

“Through our participation in RHV activities, we now know that women have the right to participate in the village meetings and decision-making process. So last year, we have successfully won one million funds to save five children from malnutrition,” Kayama said.

“We used the money to buy milk, nutrition foods and fruits for them with that fund. Additionally, women of the village receive 15 million rupiah of the village fund to buy cattle and vegetable seed to feed our families,” added Kayama, mother of six children.

Raising Her Voice is a worldwide program supported by Oxfam. In Indonesia, RHV is assisting both decision makers in local governments and women’s interest groups at village and district level to ensure women’s participation in governance, thus facilitating the process that will make public expenditure reflect women’s interests.

Sushanty (Raising Her Voice Program Manager – OXFAM)

Mobile 0811-882062; email sushanty@oxfam.org.uk

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