Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Indonesia: IWE-WELDD Butterfly Effect: Well-being, Self-Care and Integrated Security

Published Date: 
Thursday, October 22, 2015

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Today's post will explain the concept of WeSIS--Well-being, self-care, and Integrated security (on which more information can be found here). This will give some background on IWE-WELDD's emphasis on this sphere, and how they implemented it with their partners. The next post will contain participants' voices and how WeSIS made an active difference to their lives. 

Home-based workers, domestic workers and (female) porters are three types of informal workers that receive minimum or no legal protection. This failure means that informal workers in Indonesia are still facing the challenge of the absence of legal protection and fulfillment of their rights in the  work place. 

Data shows that more than 80% of informal workers in Indonesia are women. This data demonstrates feminization of poverty, where the system always places women as subordinates who do not deserve respect and decent payment, as well as a safe and comfortable working space.

The IWE-WELDD programme in Indonesia partners with Mitra Wanita Pekerja Rumahan Indonesia (MWPRI)for home-based workers; with JALA PRT, a network of organizations promoting the fulfillment of the rights of domestic workers; and Yayasan Annisa Swasti (YASANTI) working to strengthen the capacity of female porters.  The three organizations are conducting capacity strengthening programs for their respective constituencies, workshops and trainings under the framework of context-specific schools:  the Home-Based Workers School, Domestic Workers School and Female Porter School.

In the decade before the start of the WELDD programme in Indonesia, MWPRI, JALA PRT dan YASANTI have faced great challenges working on the issue of home-based workers, domestic workers, and female porters. For one, the participants were not absorbing the materials, knowledge and experience disseminated through the workshops effectively. For another,  the  situation was made worse by women activists who were sacrificing their own selves for the sake of their work. This lack of self-sustainability was causing more downtime than activity, and enforcing an overall lack of organization.

There was no awareness of the importance of involvement in larger collectives/movements, and they were not able to establish a programme to develop sustainable women’s leadership. In addition, women home-based workers, domestic workers and female porters were (and still are) experiencing multi-layers of inter-personal and structured violence both from their husbands at home and violence in the work place through wage discrimination and poor working conditions.The oppressive power structure rooted in patriarchy and gender injustice causes the understanding that the responsibility of women is to nurture others and that they have to prioritize this above even themselves. This causes fatigue and stagnation in their activities.

That’s where WeSIS came in—the practice of Well-being, Self-care, and Integrated Security. This core strategy transformed both activists and informal workers, and was organized by MWPRI, JALA PRT and YASANTI.  Based on the needs conveyed by the three organizations, IWE feels that this concept is fundamental in building sustainable and transformative feminist leadership. The concept of well-being, self-care and integrated security are finally integrated into the modules of the schools organized by MWPRI, JALA PRT, and YASANTI, and  through the practice of WeSIS, they are able to inspire other women to strengthen themselves and their peers to continue working for mutual welfare.


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