From our Partners: “Decentralization threatens RI family planning program,” the Jakarta Post

Indonesia will be hosting the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Nusa Dua, Bali, in November 2015. The Jakarta Post’s Rita Widiadana visited East Java and West Nusa Tenggara provinces to learn more about the dynamic changes in Indonesia’s family planning program with support from the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs. The following are reports from the trip.

Lilik Istikomah was happy when she gave birth to her second baby — a son, six years after his elder sister.

“Now, I feel complete. We have a daughter and a son with an adequate space of years between the two of them. My husband and I decided to take part in a family planning program,” said Lilik in her humble house in a village in Kediri, East Java.

For the 32-year old mother and schoolteacher, participating in family planning means planning for the future of her children.

“We do not want to build a large family with many children. Everything is expensive now. We can barely afford better food, education and or healthcare services.”

As a kader desa or village subfield officer, Lilik is an avid family planning counselor in her village who motivates young couples to take part in the program. For her job as a volunteer or kader desa, she receives Rp 7,500 (US80 cents) per month. Kader desa are the spearheads of the national family planning program because they are the ones who communicate directly with those who receive family planning advice.

A kader desa helps a field officer oversee women who use contraception and registers potential clients from villages.

The success of family planning in Indonesia, first begun under former president Soeharto’s new order regime in the late 1960s, was often associated with the work of these field workers.

Read the full story in the Jakarta Post.