Throughout the past eighteen months there has been understandable interest - and considerable debate - about the impact of the crisis on poverty in Indonesia. Many claims and counter claims have been made in the press and elsewhere which have been the cause of some confusion. In this issue of our newsletter we present a concise summary from our Data Analysis Unit which charts the course of the poverty rate from a point well before the crisis erupted in late 1997 until August of last year.
Despite recent reports of some tentative yet hopeful signs that an economic recovery may be underway, we are aware that the events of the last two years have already been the cause of immense difficulties and hardship for many sections of society. The social consequences of the sudden collapse of the economic and financial system have been especially severe in areas like public health and education. The fundamental problems which have become all too evident in both these sectors will not be overcome quickly or easily.
Our Crisis Impact team has been involved in some detailed health and education studies over recent months. One important aspect of our work has been to consider the effectiveness of the government?s Social Safety Net. In both health and education special programs have been put in place to assist poor families to keep their children at school and to enable them to access basic primary health care services. Some of the insights we have gathered from our investigations in various parts of the country are presented in this edition.