Atalia Praratya, Head of Family Welfare Empowerment, West Java Provincial Government, Indonesia

By Atalia Praratya

Women in GovTech Special Report 2019.

I am a strong proponent of women empowerment. Giving equal opportunities for women to unleash its potential has been one of my key missions together with my husband, Ridwan Kamil, the Governor of West Java. This vision can be propelled by streamlining tech advocacy into our women empowerment programme.

I am currently leading a number of initiatives, such as the Family Welfare Empowerment movement (TP-PKK), National Craft Council (Dekranasda) West Java, West Java Move (Jabar Bergerak), Women School (Sekoper Cinta), Women Literacy, Girls and Kids Literacy, and Traditional Market Ambassador in West Java. These unique initiatives are crafted to address problems that loom large and hamper women development, not only in West Java but also nationally.

West Java is the third most heavily densely populated province in Indonesia, with over 48 million people, 24 million of which are women. Women in every corner of the provinces face humongous challenges, including high mother and infant mortality rate, underage marriage, post-divorce situation, women and girls trafficking, domestic abuse, and so on.

One of the key issues provincial government often face is to ensure we can effectively relay public service information to the target audience. Many women in need often cannot access the care they desire, either because they are not aware of the existing government programme or they hold back from reaching out to communities for the fear of being exposed or expelled.

I am an avid user of social media, actively advocating provincial programmes directed to women across a variety of platforms. A systematic and aggressive use of social media could make a dent in promoting government programme to the grassroots.

As an example, the West Java Women School, called Sekoper Cinta, which is a catchphrase abbreviated from ‘women’s school to realise their dreams’ (Sekolah Perempuan Capai Impian dan Cita-cita). It has captured a great deal of interest from the public. With consistent outreach using social media, including from my personal Instagram account, and direct intervention, this short-course training programme managed to convince women that, they, too, could stand on their feet and make a difference in their lives. Over 2,700 women have graduated from Sekoper Cinta, and the number is still counting.

In 2020, our goal is to mainstream digital literacy into Sekoper Cinta. We are making women-tailored digital literacy booklets to be distributed to women, to ensure they could benefit from our Digital Village infrastructure and IoT adaptation programme. This year, West Java Provincial Government, in collaboration with the Ministry of ICT, deploys up to 600 small satellite facilities to villages with no internet coverage. My goal is to ensure women could optimise these facilities, to access educational content; to trade and do small and medium commerce; and to promote local products.

Digital communication platforms have boosted my productivity and ability to lead complex programmes that require multi-stakeholder coordination. Government is notorious for its multilayered bureaucracy. West Java tries to simplify this by requiring most bureaucracy to be agile, tech and data-driven even up to the village level. Sekoper Cinta has transformed my view that tech and women are the joint force that hasn’t been fully optimised.

I witness how women in grassroot level are so eager to make a difference in their life. Some attended classes with their babies because they cannot afford baby care. Some even went to school with their goats, because it is part of their job and they still need to make ends meet while continuing education. Some had to go through a long-distance trip to these trainings. Making the classes go digital will transform how these women benefit from informal education that can elevate their livelihood to another level.

In my capacity to lead initiatives with the tech-conscious West Java Government, I aspire to continue fighting for the rights of these women to enjoy better education. When you educate a woman, you educate a generation.