Generasi works to empower local communities in poor, rural sub-districts in provinces covered by the project to increase their use of health and education services. The project provides an incentivized, participatory block grant system to meet the health and education needs of women and children in poor, rural areas, as well as financing for capacity building activities at the village level.
The project targets three Millennium Development Goals in which Indonesia’s performance is lagging:
Utilizing agreed-upon targets for 12 health and education indicators, the project promotes community participation in decision-making to identify and implement local solutions to health and education challenges.
Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 Author: Hera Diani
The sweltering heat subsided as the sun moved closer to the west that afternoon in early August. For a farmer group in Haikatapu Village, Rindi Subdistrict in Sumba Timur, East Nusa Tenggara, that only meant one thing: watering and weeding the nutrition gardens.
The gardens occupy a total of 2,000 square-meter and a 1,200 square-meter of village lands that are close to one another, surrounded by rice fields and close to a spring. A group of eight farmers have managed the gardens since 2012, when the Generasi program handed out five sachets of vegetable seeds per person and 100-kilogram of onion seeds, as part of the initiative to improve people’s nutrition. The farmers tend the gardens every morning and afternoon, and they work on their own farms in between.
“We produce plenty of vegetables now, from cabbage and spinach to lettuce, eggplant and sweet potato, as well as papaya,” said Ninda Halawulang, member of the farmers group.
The situation is very different compared to a couple of years ago. The dry season, which can last up to eight months, makes Sumba Timur dry and difficult for people to grow vegetables to meet their daily needs. This has contributed to nutrition issues in the community.
The management of the farms were also not as organized. Those who lived near the water source used to manage their own farms, which were usually quite small. Inadequate public transport made it difficult for them to obtain seeds, which are sold only in the district capital about 1.5 hours’ drive away. Therefore, most community members relied on grocery sellers, that passed through their area, to obtain vegetables.
These issues were discussed in a village meeting, which the Generasi Cerdas Sehat (Generasi) team attended. Responding to the problem, the village community empowerment cadre, which was part of the Generasi team, assisted the community to identify the type of seeds needed and a budget plan to obtain them.
The local health post cadres in Rindi Sub-district has also been very proactive among the community. Following Generasi conducted cadres training, the cadres worked with the community to establish nutrition gardens in each village.
Today, the gardens help ensures families meet their daily nutritional needs. Some of the produce is also given to seven integrated health service posts (posyandu) in the area (whose cadres received Generasi training) as supplementary food for toddlers. Moreover, the gardens also serve as income source, as the communities sell the produce in the market.
“The money helps pay for our children’s schooling and household expenses,” Ninda said, smiling.
Generasi, in coordination with the Health Agency, facilitated nutrition gardens in three other villages in the area. The nutrition gardens have improved people’s nutrition, testified farmers group who managed a garden in Lukuhippa Hamlet near Haikatappu.
The garden was started in 2016, when Generasi provided seeds worth Rp 20,000 for every pregnant woman. Managed by a group of six farmers, the garden has earned Rp 10 million so far, mostly from the sales to employees of a sugar cane plantation.
“Most of the produce are sold and the money is for each member of the farmers group. The rest of the produce is for community needs, like if we have community meeting,” said Jeara Pay, daughter of the Lukuhippa hamlet head who helps with the garden.
The success of the nutrition gardens has urged village government, that are integrated with Generasi programs, to discuss the initiative in their village development planning deliberative meetings. The purpose is to allocate funds from Village Budget to support the sustainability of the initiative.
The Rempek Village Maternal Health Post (Polindes) in the hamlet of Gelumpang Sanyar (which has 248 inhabitants), in the village of Rempek, Gangga, North Lombok was built using Rp 160 million (US$11,865) in village funds. Supplies such as cabinets, tables, and chairs were purchased using the village funds, while the medical equipment and medicines were provided by the sub-district community health centre (puskesmas) with support from Ministry of Villages, Development of Disadvantages Regions and Transmigration and the National Family Planning Board.
The Polindes provides a range of basic services for women and children, including antenatal care, childbirth, and contraception. The midwife lives on site, therefore she is always on call and available. Before the clinic was built, expectant mothers usually had to travel to a facility in the neighbouring hamlet, which is more than a kilometre away.
The Generasi program actively conducts a number of initiatives throughout the community, which has significantly increased awareness of mother and child healthcare. The construction of the facility was proposed at a hamlet-level community meeting consisting entirely of women. The women’s proposal was then put forward at a village-level meeting.
To accommodate accompanying family members, the community also proposed the construction of a gazebo, which was accepted by the village government and built using Rp 18 million (US$1,335) allocated from the village funds in 2015. According to the village head, “In 2016, we allocated almost 50 percent of the total value of the village funds we received for the development of education and health services facilities.”
In 2014, the community in Sengkol Mantang village, Batukliang sub-district in Central Lombok District lobbied the village government to allocate a portion of the village funds to support Nurul, who was born with a disability that affected her legs. The village government accepted the community proposal and allocated a portion of the 2014 village funds to provide her with crutches. In 2016, the village government provided additional support in the form of transportation to school. With the support of the community and the village government, Nurul now has the same opportunities to study as all other members of the community.