By: I Gede Sudarma, EMpower Coordinator.
The EMpower Photovoices Program has ended. The program has successfully gained the students skills such as photography, facilitation skills, interview, photoshop, and public speaking. There were so many interesting activities during the program, but now, I’m going to tell you one of them that was focus group discussion (FGD) at posyandu.
To collect information about the issues in the village, we asked the students to interview the community. It was good enough, but we need more information to get deeper understanding about the issues. So, we decided to do an in-depth discussion at posyandu. Posyandu is a monthly health post which is hold at the community hall of every hamlet and the mothers usually bring their baby for a check-up. That was a perfect time to meet the community to get their perspective about the issues. We chose mothers in this research because they take an important part in the family and they are the one who spend most of the time with family, especially with the children. We believe that they could give us great information about the issues in the village.
We did FGD at the six posyandu which were close with EBPP Schools such as Bunga, Kaliaga, Pengalusan, Cegi, Jatituhu, and Darmaji. We started on March 1st at Bunga and ended on March 22nd at Jatituhu according to the posyandu schedules. We involved the EMpower Photovoices students to the FGD. We distributed some tasks to the students according their preeminent skills. The students who have more confidence with public speaking were asked to join the FGD as the co-facilitator or notetaker to help the facilitators and they who were confidence with photography we asked to take picture of the activity and reinforce their photography technique at the same time. We also did a cross learning. Not only joining the FGD at posyandu in their hamlets, the students also joined the FGD in other hamlets in order to get experience from another hamlets. So, the students joined two FDGs and on the second FGD we switched their task in order for all students to experience all roles of the FGD.
We did the FGD after the posyandu activities were completed. After measuring weight and getting service from the midwife, we asked the mothers to join us in small group to discuss. There were four topics we asked to them such as early marriage, school drop-out, infrastructure and sanitation.
The FGD was very interesting, almost all mothers said that education is very important in order to make their children smart, healthy and have a bright future – not like their parents who have lack of education.
All of them agreed that their children must follow education until the highest level but only if they can afford the tuition. The most important lessons for them were Mathematic, English, Balinese Language and Moral Education, so their children will be able to calculate, speak with local people and foreigners with well manner and good attitude. They feel sad about the high school drop-out rate nowadays. They said that the main causes of it are economic factor and married by accident. They want a change of this issue. They hope the government will help them to improve the school facilities in their village and if possible to build a school for illiterate adults.
The second topic we discussed with the mothers was early marriage. The first thing we discussed to them was the ideal age for children to marry. Almost all mothers said that the ideal age for boy to get marry is around 25 – 30 years old and for the girl is around 23 – 28 considered the maturity, occupation and readiness to build a family. But, several mothers said that the age is not a big deal, their children can get married whenever they are ready for it (get puberty, could do house chores, and want to get marry). The early marriage rate in their village is high, many years ago it caused by lack of education and knowledge, but today caused by the modernisation; the technology allows the children to meet each other easily. To tackle this problem, some hamlets in Ban arrange a custom regulation, but the punishment is too low. Someone who breaks it has to pay a fine as much as IDR 50,000 – 250,000. This custom regulation is quite effective in several hamlets like in Bunga to decrease the early marriage rate. However, the amount of the sanctions has to be reconsidered to extend its impact in reducing the rate of early marriage. Hopefully all hamlets in Ban and beyond could apply the same way to prevent early marriage.
The last topic was infrastructure and sanitation. Some hamlets in Ban already have clean water access to their home since their resident is close to the spring water source, but majority, still rely on their rain water reservoir (cubang) to survive. It will be worse in the dry season because they have to walk about 15 minutes until one hour to the water source (water spring or water tank in the centre of hamlet). Many people already have toilet due to the EBPP toilet project, but not for the new family (they who just get married).
Infrastructure like damaged road is still a current problem for them. Slippery road during rainy season and dusty road during dry season. It raises many problems for thecommunity such as accidents, health problems, obstructs economic development, limited access for public area like market, school and health services, even some mothers have to bear in the road. They hope the government or stakeholders could help them by fixing and providing asphalt road.
The FGD was going well, all mothers were very open answering every questions. We can see through their eyes and words that they really need help to improve their lives. Hopefully, their perspective and aspiration could be heard by the government or stakeholders and what they hope could be achieved immediately.