Indonesian family empowerment program reduces poverty

Indonesian family empowerment program reduces poverty

Salim Segaf Al Jufri. (ANTARA/Prasetyo Utomo)

This is an extraordinary achievement."
Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri said the implementation of the Family Empowerment Program (PKH) had contributed 27.7 percent to the government`s poverty reduction program.

"This is an extraordinary achievement. In Brazil, for example, the same program is able to drastically cut poverty in six years," Minister Salim said here on Thursday.

The social affairs minister was in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) provincial capital of Mataram to attend a national coordination meeting on the family-based poverty alleviation program for Region IV 2013.

The minister also handed over a social prosperity development assistance to NTB.

The PKH program has been carried out in Indonesia since 2007 with participants having reached 500 thousand poor families.

He said that the number of participants continued to increase so that in 2012 the number had reached 1.5 million poor families.

In 2013, it is expected that the number of poor families taking part in the family hope program will reach 2.4 million while in 2014 it will reach 3.2 million.

The PKH program is conditional cash assistance for very poor families (RTSM).

Each RTSM gets PKH assistance with conditions that the family should send its children to school, send expecting mother to the public community health care center and take children to the doctor when they are sick.

The minister said that the family empowerment program had been carried out since 2007 and constituted a flagship program for the ministry of social affairs.

He said that the program had been successful such as seen with poor families` children attending schools, the increasing number of expecting mothers having their heath examined which reduced the number of infant and maternal mortality rates.

"We hope the poverty rate will be reduced to eight percent in 2014," the minister said.

In the meantime, the PKH program is also expected to reduce the number of child laborers.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar in East Java on Thursday that Indonesia was expected to be free from child laborers in 2020 through the implementation of its Child Labor Elimination Program (PPA) and the Family Empowerment Program (PKH).

"We have since 2008 withdrawn 32,663 child laborers from their workplaces and sent them to schools. We have the target to free 11,000 and 14,000 child laborers from workplaces in 2013 and in 2014 respectively," Muhaimin.

The minister said that going to schools was the right of children. Therefore, millions of children on the street, with poor families and leaving schools (for having no money) must be assisted and be sent to schools.

"For this purpose, we cooperate with the local governments, the private sector and other relevant parties to withdraw working children and send them to schools in an effort to protect them from discrimination and exploitation," the minister said.

Minister Muhaimin expressed his intention to make the withdrawal of children from workplaces a national movement program because children were assets and investment for the future.