A Step to increase women participation in community development

Hello! Amanda here from the think team!

February has been a busy month for su-re.co. Not only that we have many events held and planned for the upcoming month, but some of implementation projects are beginning to enter development process. We are going back and forth with our team and our partner about the project concepts, budget and capacity development opportuniy. While this may have been a quite tiring in some day, I also cannot content my excitement because I finally get the hands on experience and exploring skills on project development and management! In between this technical details preparation, I always to try to uphold the impact on the community and their involvement in implementing these projects. While I was digging up my old lecture to get inspired bp old case studies and, I came across my old class writings on the importance on women participation in community participation to deliver public goods in rural areas. Although this relates more on the political aspect and evaluation process, this closely relates to su-re.co biogas project. One of our aims in biogas usage in rural areas is to increase gender equality by replacing the use of wood stove, in which its woods majorly collected by women.

Community participation is crucial process in determining feasible political mechanism to deliver public goods at the village level. In order to fairly and ethically implement community participation in Indonesian villages, some challenges need to be addressed accordingly. First, power relation between communities may impede participations. As described in Akbar et al, 2020 regarding conceptualizing SDG framework in rural Indonesia, “stakeholders who have more time, better resources, or positions than the broader population often have the opportunity to dominate the participatory process rather than the disadvantaged groups who have a lack of power or the necessary verbal skills to express their opinions” (in Akbar et al, 2020). Therefore, for each randomly categorized development project groups, a clear communicative framework during political mechanism is critical. Having said that, time and engagement strategy become the second main challenge. Similar to power relation, economic and education level are influential in shaping participants’ time availability and understanding of this political mechanism and development projects. According to village heads, both political mechanism need to anticipate various facilitation method and schedule multiple meetings or range of times for election since there are village population who are only available at night or during weekends. Furthermore, as found in many villages, women sole responsibility for the household and family limit their participation to meetings, as it may take long time and journey. Hence, in ensuring women participation in community gatherings and election, one should ensure to recruit women as meeting facilitator and election staff and to hold short session on public goods knowledge for women. By providing such adjustment, it will give opportunity for women contribute more conveniently as it closes the power and knowledge gap in order to contribute at the same starting point as some men. With the consideration of abovementioned challenges, both political mechanisms are feasible to be conducted. However, direct election tends to be more feasible as it standardized communication method (ballot) that would eliminate hesitation to verbally speak during meeting and increase women participation as ballot can be cast at given range time.


Akbar, A., Flacke, J., Martinez, J., & Maarseveen, M. F. A. M. van. (2020). Participatory planning practice in rural Indonesia: A sustainable development goals-based evaluation. Community Development, 51(3), 243–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/15575330.2020.1765822

Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2010, May 1). Indonesia: Empowering Rural Women Through Community Development - 2010 (Indonesia) [Text]. Asian Development Bank. https://www.adb.org/results/indonesia-empowering-rural-women-through-community-development-2010

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