As the economic crisis continues, the capacity of many Indonesians to provide for the basic necessities of life - food, clothing, and shelter - has been thrown even further into doubt. A prominent theme of several of the articles in this issue of our newsletter is the daily struggle many people face to provide sufficient food for themselves and their families and the grave impact this situation is having on the welfare of certain sections of Indonesian society.
In our report from the field, we summarize the major findings of our recently concluded SMERU rapid appraisal of the government's emergency food relief program, Operasi Pasar Khusus, which provides a monthly allocation of rice to poor households nationwide. We summarize observations from the field about the operational effectiveness of the program and we suggest possible modifications which could more effectively channel assistance to those most affected by the crisis.
In a SMERU Special Report, we highlight the central conclusions of a Rapid Poverty Assessment conducted in every kecamatan in the country. These newly-released results are of crucial importance, both for our understanding of the nature of the crisis, and for our thinking about the ways in which civil society and government agencies can best direct their efforts to assist those most in need.