Indonesian National Conference to Inspire Change

Pak Ahmad Yunus from Kata Data Indonesia and Ibu Dewi Susanty, MAMPU Communications Officer share insights from a presentation of images from PhotoVoice’s partnership with MAMPU at a national conference in Indonesia.

The MAMPU program, or Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction, supports members of parliament, both women and men, who are committed to gender equality and increasing the standard of living for poor and marginalized women, as well as parliamentary caucuses related to MAMPU issues in promoting government reform from within, to generate policies that support poverty alleviation.

MAMPU programs view the relationship with members of parliament and the women parliamentary caucus, especially in the regional/municipality level, as an ideal port of entry to increase awareness and concrete actions toward policy reform that directly affects the poor women in Indonesia.

On that basis, MAMPU held a National Conference on Women Inspire Change: The Role of Legislative Members to Alleviate Women Impoverishment in Indonesia. It was held from 20th May to 21st May 2015 in the MPR/DPR RI Complex, Jakarta (Parliament Building).

This Conference aimed to build a joint commitment among the participants (members of DPR, DPD, DPRD elected for the 2014-2019 period, MAMPU partners, representatives of the Indonesian government agencies, and other stakeholders) to increase the standard of living for women in Indonesia through concrete actions.

A picture is worth a thousand words. That old saying seems true looking at the pictures exhibited at the Nusantara IV Building in Jakarta. Participants visited the booth and took time to read the captions of the pictures displayed on the makeshift exhibition wall.

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Visitors visiting the PhotoVoice Exhibition at MPR/DPR Building – Jakarta at MAMPU National Conference

The photo exhibition held for two days was not a common exhibition, and every picture seemed to tell and reveal different stories. It was a PhotoVoice exhibition about Indonesian migrant workers. PhotoVoice raises awareness about issues through photography, giving a voice to underrepresented women. The pictures showed how issues related to migrant workers affect their lives and their community, and describe their process as migrant workers from before their departure until their return.

The pictures were not taken by professional photographers but by 24 ex-migrant women workers and families of migrant workers. They participated in a PhotoVoice workshop on March 2015, coordinated by MAMPU together with Migrant CARE and its regional partners, Perkumpulan Panca Karsa and Yayasan Kesehatan untuk Semua. Community members in the workshop came from three Villages in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and three villages in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara.

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Tutik from Persatuan Panca Karsa explaining about PhotoVoice to the visitors at MAMPU National Conference. Photo by Dhina Mutiara Kartikasari

In that workshop, the participants were taught how to use digital camera, the basics of photography, and how to tell their stories through photo captions. But mainly, they were given insights on how to produce pictures that correspond to the goals they want to achieve for migrant workers. As a result, the pictures truly emerged as a “work of heart”. Their work can also be used as media for advocacy and communication on the issues raised.

For MAMPU itself, PhotoVoice serves as a participatory monitoring and evaluation tool. This activity will be held again in 6 months to see whether there are any significant changes in the villages of the migrant workers and their families. This assistance will continue for 1 year. Afterwards, the communities should continue to conduct their own PhotoVoice activities, so that hopefully in the future they will be able to monitor and evaluate the development in their own village.