Gender and social protection in Indonesia: Raskin, the food subsidy programme

Briefing papers
October 2010
Sirojuddin Arif, Rebecca Holmes, Muhammad Syukri and Vita Febriany

In 1997 Indonesia was one of the countries worst hit by the South-East Asian economic crisis, with poverty levels more than doubling in four years. The economic and social consequences were highly gendered, affecting not only the type of poverty experienced, but also shaping the coping strategies available. Mothers, for example, reduced their food intake to buffer their children against food shortages, resulting in increased maternal wasting and anaemia (Block et al., 2004).

Indonesia implemented social protection schemes as a key policy response to the crisis – schemes that have developed and evolved into longer-term interventions. However, social protection in Indonesia has, to date, paid little attention to the gendered nature of economic and social risks, despite the evidence of the gendered dimensions of poverty and vulnerability.

This Project Briefing synthesises research findings from the first year of a three-year study by the SMERU Research Institute in Indonesia and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the UK, funded by AusAID, which aims to address this gap by exploring the linkages between gender, food security and social protection effectiveness. In particular, this study examines the gendered dimensions and impacts of the subsidised food programme, Raskin (Beras untuk Rumah Tangga Miskin, Rice for Poor Households), which was first implemented in 1998 as part of the crisis response Special Market Operation (OPK) programme, and now reaches 17.5 million households, approximately 8% of the population.

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