In general poverty reduction uses two approaches: economic development to increase income, and community empowerment to improve the capacity of human resources. The success of poverty reduction schemes is determined, among others, by its policy and targeting accuracy. The policy can be targeted at the community, family, or individual which is disaggregated by age and gender.
In order to provide policymakers with research-based information on vulnerable groups, in the past several years The SMERU Research Institute has conducted various studies observing child poverty and poor families’ access to public services.
In 2015, SMERU explored the multidimensional poverty of children aged 0–17 years. The study aimed to measure the deprivation level of individual children in order to assess their well-being across age groups.
SMERU conducted another study on children in Surakarta, North Jakarta, and Makassar in 2015 to obtain an understanding of the characteristics of child poverty, for both girls and boys aged 6–17 years old living in urban areas. This study reveals factors affecting a child’s experience seen from her or his own perspective.
Subsequently in 2016, SMERU conducted a study on a poverty reduction program targeted at the family. The program is called e-Warong, an inclusive finance service that changed the disbursement of cash transfer assistance to a noncash method. The study observes stakeholders’ perception on the concept of the program and their readiness to implement the program.
Still focusing on public services, SMERU then analyzed the ASEAN Economic Community Trade Agreement (MEA) in health sector. The study aims to identify MEA’s implications on health services in regard to efforts to provide the basis for the formulation of quality and competitive health service policies.
At the end of this edition’s newsletter, our guest writer reflects on Indonesia’s various empowerment programs through the years. The author is in the view that there have to be a transformation in empowerment programs to one which will economically empower communities as well as develop their political sovereignty.