Eight highly educated women from different parts of Indonesia took part in the Citradaya Nita programme in 2015 to improve their skills as journalists. Having done a lot of research into a problem that was very specific to their region, they each produced a different media report about their chosen subject. The end result is that this has raised public awareness of problems that were unseen until that time.

Women in Indonesia hold a very subservient position in society, especially in the remoter areas and in the poorer quarters of the cities. These women are faced with a whole variety of problems, ranging from getting married and having children far too young to a lack of education and good health care and domestic violence. Free Press Unlimited wants to strengthen the position of these women and that is why we support the Citradaya Nita programme, organised by our partner, the Indonesian Association for Media Development (PPMN).

Improvement

Through Citradaya Nita – that means ‘strong women’ in the local language – PPMN is the first media company that focusses on improving the professional status of female journalists. Seven of the eight women who took part in the programme made it right to the end and graduated. At the beginning of the course they were given an intensive training programme in the skills needed in journalism. Then, under supervision, they set to work on a subject that was very specific to their own region. Each one of them produced two radio items and two vox-pops, or short interviews with people passing-by on the street. After that, each journalist organised two talk shows where their chosen subject was discussed by different parties. The journalists spent a lot of time with the people from their target group and therefore built up a lot of trust with them. The end result was not only a lot of media attention for the problem, but it also made a good, noticeable start with improving these problems.

Miranti Wemay produced a report in North Sulawesi about waste pickers. These are women who rummage through land fill sites looking for reusable materials, such as plastic, which they then sell to traders. Despite the work that they do for the city, these women don’t have an identity card, which means that they have no citizens’ rights. Thanks to what Wemay has done and the media attention that she has attracted to this problem, twenty of them now have an ID card, which gives them access to health care.

The web report that Anoverlis Hulu made about the so-called “diffabled children” in the city of Nias also had an effect. The term “diffabled” is a combination of 'different' and 'disabled'. In Indonesia it is considered to be shameful if you are a family with a handicapped child. These children are therefore often neglected or even mistreated. Hulu visited a number of these families and also made contact with schools and other service organisations. This resulted in the local authorities now paying much more attention to these “diffabled” children.

Impact

Free Press Unlimited strongly believes that making these target groups more professional and expanding their capacity will have huge added value. During the training course a lot of attention was given to combining journalism with the involvement of different parties, such as local NGOs, governments and other service providers. Hulu commented: “Through this training course I got more ideas about how I can make my programme much more direct and focussed. And how I can broaden the impact that it has.” Also, positive noises were heard from within the community. Sukaria Halawa from Nias said: “Hulu’s programme has given me hope that the government will now be more concerned about my handicapped child.”