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Stories Form The Field


A dialogue on “Strengthening the Voice and Influence of Women Household Heads within the Social Protection System” was held at the East Simeulue Sub-District Office on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. It was attended by representatives from BPJS, Bappeda, P3AKB, Local Health Office, Local Social Affairs Office, Local Civil Registry Office, village heads and Pekka Union. The aim of the dialogue was to build communication and cooperation networks with stakeholders relating to social protection programs in Simeulue District, and discuss local government policy recommendations on Pekka Union’s participation in the district’s social protection program monitoring system.  


PEKKA observed several factors hampering women’s access to social protection programs. Firstly, a closed information system where women find it hard to meet eligibility requirements and poor program management at the village level. For the raskin program for the poor for example, subsidized rice is distributed evenly to every villager to avoid conflict, but as a consequence the poor and marginalized women in the village or urban ward receive lesser amounts of rice than what should have been their share. Poor and marginalized women also lack access to public services such as healthcare, education, decent work and are vulnerable to exploitation. Furthermore, the inability to obtain the necessary civil registry documentation has made it difficult to access social protection schemes. PEKKA facilitates these women in obtaining their formal documentation, such as family card, identity card, birth certificate and marriage certificate through one-stop service courts, circuit courts and KLIK PEKKA.  


In Siumat Island, the majority of the population is of Nias ethnicity. Many of them have no legal identity, and therefore no access to social protection. It would be difficult for them to seek medical help not only because of the distance, but also lack of transportation and harsh environments as they need to navigate through rough waters and strong winds during bad weather.   


Cut Putri Handayani from the local health office took the opportunity to inform about an online puskesmas (local community health clinic) referral system in two sub-districts, i.e., at the puskesmas in East Simeulue and Central Tepa. She also explained on the Indonesian Healthy Program, which adopts the family-based approach where puskesmas expands its reach and improves its services by visiting households within their area of operation. The Indonesian Healthy Program has 12 indicators on the health status of families. Based on this set of indicators, the Healthy Family Index is determined. Cut Putri also brought attention to the Asuhan Mandiri Program (Taman Toga) implemented through community groups such as the dasawisma ten-houses grouping system. Pekka groups are expected to play an active role in the program, and at the village level cadres will be trained on traditional medicine. Household can also cultivate medicinal plants to earn additional income.   


Meanwhile, Ridwansyah from the local civil registry office said that he was pleased that many more islanders now know about the civil registry services provided for free, thanks to the local Pekka Union. The East Simeuleu Sub-District Secretary on the other hand hailed the PEKKA program as a commendable breakthrough, which he fully supports and is willing to arrange for the venue if needed. He also hoped that PEKKA will not limit its work to only 7 villages, but extend to all 17 villages in East Simeulue Sub-District.   

Contributor: Asmi JWP (Simeulue, Aceh) 

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